With the residents of Matsu approving gambling on their island via referendum, the Cabinet has passed a draft bill. The Matsu gambling referendum, as I noted in a blog post last year, is the camel's nose in the tent....
In my previous post on this topic I collected the following information.....The legislation has been duly drafted and has some nice social welfare touches (KMT news):
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?
The draft bill clearly specifies a list of gambling regulations. Anyone who is a recipient of government assistance, has been declared bankrupt, or who has a bad credit card debt record, shall be prohibited from entering casino premises. Furthermore, the draft bill also rigorously stipulates an anti-addiction clause allowing members of the extended-family within the fourth degree of blood relations, or partners in a common-law marriage, to apply for a ban prohibiting people who are addicted to gambling from entering casino premises.The bill also allows the government to collect "royalties" on casinos:
According to the draft bill, the Ministry of Transportation and Communication would collect monthly royalty payments on casinos of 7% in the first 15 years and 9% afterwards. The local government may also impose a special tax as high as 7%. The combination of the two shall not exceed 17%.It will be interesting to see how far that gets watered down when the bill goes through the legislature. By comparison, here is the tax information for Macao (UNLV):
Taxation: Effective tax rate: 38 to 39%.There is a 35% tax on gross gaming revenue, and a 1.6% contribution to the Macao Foundation, as well as a 1.4% (for SJM) or 2.4% (for everyone else) contribution to the Infrastructure/Tourism/Social Security Fund (source).According to the Taiwan Today piece, under the draft bill, patrons of the casinos will not have their winnings taxed for the first twenty years. The government said that the casinos will not go in until 2019 at the earliest. Thus, expect pressure to land on Kinmen and eventually, Penghu again. The referendum was held in Sept of 2009, and eight years must pass before the public can have another referendum on the same issue. So around 2016 we should start looking for a new media push for gambling in the Penghu -- unless by then they have it on the main island of Taiwan....
REF: Marcus Clinch's excellent overview of gambling issues in Taiwan.
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- Difference between Right and Left on Taiwan? Right-wing mags show sympathy for and understanding of Taiwan's predicament this week (National Review). Meanwhile over at The Nation the rare mention of Taiwan in a lefty publication last year is of course a criticism of the horrible "Taiwan lobby" using Beijing-colored POV. Sucks.
- Freedom House on Taiwan's media situation: not as good as it could be, still better than most. Also on the media: China Policy Institute blog post on the anti-media monopoly movement from movement inside.
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