Penghu vote key to unlocking Taiwan casino industry

Voters on the island of Penghu will go to the polls on Saturday in a referendum crucial to the future of casino gaming in Taiwan. Under the Offshore Islands Development Act, Taiwan’s offshore islands can create tourist areas that include casino zones if the island’s residents approve by a simple majority vote in a county-wide referendum. To date only Matsu has approved casinos in a referendum. A prior poll on Penghu in 2009 failed, due mainly to pressure from anti-gaming groups, an anti-gaming “get out the vote” campaign and the absence of draft casino gaming legislation which would have addressed the concerns raised by the anti-gaming groups. The latest referendum, which has previously enjoyed some support from the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government in Penghu, is opposed by the usual anti-gaming forces, including DPP headquarters in Taipei. While the numerical result of the Penghu referendum is uncertain – with most observers saying...

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