Residents in Taiwan’s outlying island county of Kinmen (pictured) could soon vote on whether to allow casinos there, reports local newspaper Taiwan News. The referendum could take place in October at the earliest, said the media outlet.
The newspaper reported that an official from the Kuomintang political party filed a petition with the Kinmen County government to hold a referendum on legalising gambling in the locality and allowing the establishment of casinos.
A total of 6,207 signatures will have to be collected to endorse the proposal, before it can be sent to the appropriate election committee to prepare for a referendum.
Taiwan lifted a 15-year prohibition on gambling in relation to its outlying islands of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu in 2009. The residents of Penghu have voted two times against the idea of allowing casino resorts in the country.
In Penghu’s October 2016 referendum, of the voters who turned out, 81 percent were opposed to the idea of a casino. In a September 2009 referendum on the same topic, more than 17,000 Penghu residents – or 56.4 percent of those that voted – snubbed a proposal to allow casinos there.
In a referendum in July 2012, the residents of Matsu Island voted in favour of casinos to help attract tourists. The necessary enabling legislation to allow casinos on Taiwan’s outlying islands however has been stalled at the national level. There have been no local media reports recently to indicate when such legislation might again be tabled.
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, had previously stated her party’s opposition to the opening of casinos in Taiwan.
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Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China