Residents of the Penghu Islands have voted to reject opening casinos there. In Taiwan’s first ever local referendum held on September 26th, over 56 percent of voters voiced their opposition to the casino development proposal. With a population of 93,445, over 17,359 cast their votes in opposition to the idea, while 13,397 (over 43 percent) supported it. This was a victory for the anti-gambling alliance that saw casinos as a step towards having a polluted environment rather than an ecologically friendly one.
The central government first posed the question of opening casinos three years ago. Since then, several international companies have jostled to buy stretches of oceanfront property with the hope of building casino resorts on the islands. Those companies with the most at stake are Amazing Holdings Resort (AMZ), Great Penghu International Resort and the Golden Sand Beach International Resort Village.
The government supported the Gambling Ordinance and saw it as a way to develop Penghu’s economy, but they also gave the final decision to the residents in a local referendum. With the recent veto, another referendum cannot be submitted for another three years. In the meantime, there are other offshore islands that have expressed an interest in developing casinos, if the circumstances are right, including matching support from the central government.
Although Penghu might not become a gambling mecca in the near future, it still has abundant natural beauty. The Penghu islands, also know as the Pescadores, consist of 90 small islands off the west coast of Taiwan. The area’s natural beauty makes it an ideal place to develop it into a maritime tourist attraction.
- The Press Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in San Francisco represents the Government Information Office (GIO), Executive Yuan, Republic of China (Taiwan). GIO maintains nine Press Divisions in the United States, including the San Francisco office. The Press Divisions are in charge of promoting Taiwan's public relations and cultural exchanges. This blog is updated by the Press Division, TECO in San Francisco.
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