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Taiwan – Casinos back on the cards in Penghu

By - 4 November 2015

The Taiwanese island of Penghu is again considering a casino development with residents likely to vote on the matter following Taiwan’s presidential election on January 16.

The local government’s Referendum Screening Committee has approved a proposal to hold a referendum. This will now be put before Taiwan’s Cabinet the Executive Yuan. If five per cent of the local population, amounting to 4,113 people, sign a petition, it will be sent to the election committee to prepare for a referendum.

In the previous referendum, which took place on September 26, 2009, a total of 17,369 votes, or 56.44 per cent of the total valid ballots, voted against the introduction of a casino, while 13,397, or 43.56 per cent, supported it.

Taiwan lifted the ban on gambling on the outlying islands of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu in January 2009.
Residents on Matsu voted for casinos in a referendum, in July 2012, however Taiwan’s Parliament has yet to approve the draft casino bill.

Claremont Partners wants to develop a casino on the island of Penghu, however a referendum held in 2009 saw locals vote against a casino. The company’s Carl Burger said last year: “Penghu very much remains a viable location. We anticipate that the supporting Taiwan legislation will finally pass in 2014 and set the stage for gaming operators and investors to enter a new Asian jurisdiction.”

Weidner Resorts Taiwan, headed by former Las Vegas Sands executive Bill Weidner, has also shown its blueprint for a Taiwanese casino resort with luxury hotels and convention halls. Operating giants such as Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts are believed to have analysed the opportunity of gaming in Taiwan due to closeness to China and large potential markets such as Korea and Japan.

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