“Honestly, I don’t believe that the future casino operator would be able to give us the NT$80,000 per month subsidy, I don’t even care if the casino goes out of business in a few years,” she said. “When the casino closes, the bridge and the airport that they built would still be around, right?” -- Woman quoted in Taipei Times
The Taipei Times reports:
According to final figures announced by the Lienchiang County Government, 56 percent voted in favor of the initiative, against 42 percent who opposed it. A total of 3,162 of 7,762 eligible voters cast ballots, for a voter turnout of 40.7 percent. Among those who voted, 1,795 supported the casino plan, while 1,341 were against it. There were 28 invalid ballots.Turnout of 40%... the legislature had changed the referendum law for gambling for the previous referendum on gambling in the Penghu. The law had previously required that 50% of the electorate had to vote on a referendum to make it valid. After held two votes on referenda for gambling, perhaps it will become more difficult for the KMT gov't to avoid a referendum if it attempts to annex the island to China in some meaningful way. Despite the alleged importance of the vote to the island's economy, 60% of the electorate of this totally pro-KMT island couldn't be bothered to come out and vote, likely because it was inevitable that it would win.
The developer made all sorts of promises: an international airport (which must be built if the casino is going to operate), a college town, a causeway linking the two islands in the area, and buckets of money, $18,000 a month after the first year (basically minimum wage) rising to $80,000 a month in the fifth year if profits reach a certain level. A legislator pointed out in the Taipei Times piece that things might not be so easy:
“Before a casino resort can be built, the legislature first needs to pass the proposed Gambling Act [博奕法],” he said. “Besides, most of the land in Matsu is either government or military property. Some is even restricted military zones — so there is a long and complicated administrative procedure to go through.”I think the history of developmentalist state projects in Taiwan suggests three things (1) the KMT-controlled legislature will pass the gambling law; (2) the developer is going to renege on most of the promises except the airport; and (3) if the developer wants to build on government land, they will just go ahead and do it and worry about the permits later if ever -- the usual practice for developers in Taiwan. That will not be so easy for military land.... however, I don't think that any great casino development will ever occur on Matsu, because....
He also questioned Weidner Resorts Taiwan’s willingness to make such a huge investment to improve or build transportation and tourism facilities in Matsu.
“I’m personally opposed to the casino plan, but I respect the opinion of the majority,” Chen said.
Analysts say a casino in Matsu would have minimal impact on gambling revenues in Macau which is located on China's southern coast. It is also not clear how easy it would be for Chinese citizens to get visas to travel to the Taiwanese islands."Professional sports venues"?? On Matsu?
"Five percent of overall visitation to Macau is from Taiwan, and Matsu is less conveniently located from Taipei than Macau," Macau and Las Vegas-based Union Gaming said in a note.
Weidner Resorts Taiwan, a company run by former Las Vegas Sands executive Bill Weidner, has unveiled plans to build a casino resort that includes luxury hotels, professional sports venues and convention halls.
The putative casinos are obviously aimed at punters from neighboring Fujian province in China, not Taiwanese.....
In my previous post on this topic I collected the following information.....
The AmCham article notes that infrastructure on Matsu is primitive and bad weather often shuts down transportation, making it the less preferable of the two islands. It seems intuitively obvious that a referendum for Kinmen is in the cards at some point.This suggests also that this whole Matsu casino thing is vapor and no casinos are ever going to appear on the island -- the real point is to have the referendum in a place where it can't lose, get the necessary gambling laws passed, and then put pressure on Kinmen to allow casino gambling.
The AmCham article also makes the comical claim that casinos in Taiwan can be kept free of gangsterism. Kinda like the way professional baseball in Taiwan is, eh? I also observed that those casinos are covered under the offshore islands act, which frees businesses on the island of taxation. Meaning that those casinos will pay no taxes to the government, as far as I can see. Does anyone know different?
UPDATE: Comments are great.
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