TAIPEI Tai­wan is­land re­jects casino bid

The Myanmar Times - - International Business -

RES­I­DENTS on Tai­wan’s pris­tine Penghu is­lands have over­whelm­ingly re­jected a pro­posal to al­low casino devel­op­ment, an is­sue that has di­vided com­mu­ni­ties and politi­cians.

Sup­port­ers were hop­ing for the green light as Tai­wan’s econ­omy stag­nates, promis­ing a casino would boost jobs and tourism.

Op­po­nents ar­gued gam­bling re­sorts would ruin the nat­u­ral land­scapes of the re­mote out­ly­ing is­land chain, which has a pop­u­la­tion of 100,000 and is pop­u­lar with vis­i­tors for its beaches and tur­tle sanc­tu­ar­ies.

Apart from state-run lotteries, gam­bling is banned in most of Tai­wan and there are cur­rently no le­gal casi­nos – although there is a thriv­ing underground gam­bling net­work.

How­ever, Tai­wan’s out­ly­ing is­lands have been given per­mis­sion to de­velop casi­nos, with a num­ber of caveats, in­clud­ing that lo­cal res­i­dents agree.

The “no camp” won 81.1 per­cent of the vote in the ref­er­en­dum.

It is the sec­ond time the west­ern ar­chi­pel­ago has voted against casino devel­op­ment, hav­ing gone to the polls in 2009, when 56.4pc op­posed.

Sup­port­ers of the “yes” camp said with­out casi­nos Penghu would strug­gle to de­velop a more ro­bust lo­cal econ­omy.

“As we are un­able to get for­eign in­vest­ments, Penghu may never be­come self-re­liant,” said Chuang Kuang-hui of the Penghu In­ter­na­tion­al­i­sa­tion Pro­mo­tion Al­liance, which ini­ti­ated the vote.

Tai­wan’s Matsu Is­lands held a sim­i­lar vote in 2012 and came out in sup­port of a casino be­ing built.

How­ever, none has ever been de­vel­oped there be­cause a par­lia­men­tary act lay­ing out gam­ing li­cens­ing and reg­u­la­tions, the fi­nal stamp for any casino to go ahead, has stalled in par­lia­ment. –

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