Citizens on Taiwan’s outlying island county of Kinmen (pictured) have voted against the idea of allowing casinos, in a referendum held on Saturday.
Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported that 24,368 votes were cast against the idea, with only 2,705 in favour. The referendum turnout was reported to be just under 24.2 percent.
A total of around 114,000 Kinmen residents were eligible to vote, according to the local election commission.
The referendum was called after Tsai Chun-sheng, a member of the county council, initiated a petition and collected 5,602 valid signatures, surpassing the threshold of 5,178 needed to trigger a referendum on any topic at local government level. He argued allowing casinos in Kinmen could help boost the local economy.
This was the fourth time a referendum was conducted on Taiwan’s outlying islands regarding the idea of allowing casinos. Matsu, another Taiwanese archipelago, held a referendum in July 2012, with residents voting in favour of casinos. But the lack of national legislation on casino regulations stalled progress.
Two referendums took place in Penghu, also an outlying island chain, in September 2009 and October 2016 respectively. On each occasion a majority of those casting a vote opposed the introduction of a casino industry. In the 2016 referendum, 81 percent of the votes cast opposed the proposition.
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Kwok Chi Chung
President of junket trade body, the Macau Association of Gaming and Entertainment Promoters