There could be some major changes to Taiwanese gambling laws afoot, as the government prepares to hold a public hearing on the proposals to build casinos on the mainland. Since 2009, gambling has been allowed on a number of Taiwanese islands, but is still banned on the mainland.
Despite that 2009 law, gambling has yet to come to Taiwan, as the government has been reticent in passing new bills that would actually allow the building of the casinos. Despite a positive 2012 referendum in the Matsu islands, and the passing of draft legislation through the cabinet in May, the bill is unlikely to see the light of day before the close of the political session at the end of the year.
One thing the delay has led to is the amendment of the law to allow the building of a casino in the Taoyuan Aerotropolis project – a business zone adjacent to the Taoyuan International Airport about 40km from Taipei. Many are quite positive about this piece of gambling news, with the transport minister considering it a more feasible location than Matsu.
With the government also amending the bill to include other relevant acts, there is also the possibility, however small, of online casinos in Taiwan. While unlikely, the government seems willing to change its stance on gambling with regularity, so long as there is the possibility of new tax income. As such, a new casino on the mainland would be welcome.
Weidner Resorts have already made a serious offer to build a casino on Matsu – with Galaxy Entertainment Group having also publicly spoken on the idea – and the possibility of a Taipei casino would appeal to both of these companies. The plan for the Weidner Resorts casino has come under some scrutiny, however, as the amounts of money concerned do not seem to add up.