The government of Taiwan failed to approve two past bills to modify Taiwanese gambling laws to permit the construction of new casino resorts on nearby islands. A third attempt will introduce a differently worded version of the proposed addendum will be made within the next four months. Most of the legislators stand firmly behind the legislation that will pave the way for the construction of new casino resorts. Strong oposition from indigenous tribes as well as disagreement over the number of new casino licenses derailed past attempts to approve the law. After the conclusion of the legislative session, just prior to the Chinese New Year, a questionnaire has been handed out to would-be casino owners, and tribal chiefs to iron out all disagreements prior to the introduction of the new bill.
Plans to introduce casinos on mainland were abandoned by Taiwan’s Council for Economic Planning & Development (CEPD). Taiwan’s ruling KMT political party partially based its 2009 platform on a promise to build new luxury casino resorts on offshore islands. The indigenous, ultra conservative population of the islands, is firmly against huge casino resorts despoiling the ‘holy soil of their ancestral home’ and object to modernization. Native tribes of the beautiful island of Penghu, repeatedly failed to approve a local referendum to allow the proposed casino resorts.
Taiwan’s government firmly believes that the third attempt to modify gambling laws will succced, because of the close involvement of both the casino industry insiders and the representatives of native tribes as well as the removal of all language from the bill that dealt with internet gambling. In an effort to persuade local tribal chiefs to approve the construction of the casino resorts, the government threated to use the power of ’eminent domain’ to confiscate the land for the ‘overall benefit of Taiwan citizens’. The project is overseen by the Taiwan Tourist Board as mandated by the Casino Management Act.
The third attempted addendum to the Casino Management Act will go through three public hearings on the islands involved: Mazou, Penghu and Kinmen. A consulting company has been hired to asses the feasibility and benefit of constructing resorts on six islands – Kinmen, Ilanyu, Hsiau Liouchiou, Penghu and Matsu. All further hearings will include experts, scholars, casino industry insiders and representatives of the native tribes before a final report outlining the positions of all parties involved will be submitted to the Parliament comittee responsible for drafting the new law.
Legislation regarding online gambling in Taiwan is confusing, and its legal status is not very clear. Taiwanese players use foreign online gambling sites that are hosted in other countries since online online casinos in Taiwan are under constant threat of being shut down by law enforcement with all deposits being confiscated. Parliament has repeatedly rejected the introduction of any framework to license and regulate online gambling in Taiwan.