Taiwan rejected casino bill

The construction of gambling centres was rejected by Taiwanese residents.

Taiwan.- Residents of Taiwanese Penghu island chain decided to reject casino legalisation during last Saturday’s ballot. About 40 percent of voters attended to decide on the referendum, from which 26,598 residents voted against and 6,210 expressed their support, meaning that an overwhelming majority of 81 percent opposed to the casino and only 19 percent favoured it.

In 2009, 56.44 percent of voters reached the same conclusion in the first ballot held by the government. Earlier that year, several amendments in the Offshore Islands Development Act had established strict permissions to install casinos in the islands of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu. The potential development of gambling industry in the Asian country was overshadowed by this year’s election of president Tsai Ing-wen, who is resolutely opposed to casinos.

“We will categorically reject any similar project if raised in the future,” commented the major national anti-casino coalition on a statement after the ballot. And they added that they support “clean hometowns.” The group also urged the central government to devote all-out efforts to develop Penghu into a “world-class ecological art island” and to scrap gaming clauses from the national Offshore Islands Development Act.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) also expressed its agreement with the results by publishing an e-mail last Saturday: “People of Penghu have shown their collective will. The government will work to help Penghu develop tourism with its own characteristics.” Days before the ballot, the president Tsai Ing-wen reiterated her opposition against the legalisation of gambling in the island.