Sat, Dec 27, 2008 - Page 12 News List

CEPD okays casinos on outlying islands

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wrapping up months of assessment, the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) yesterday gave its blessing to the development of a gambling industry on outlying islands to boost tourism and economic growth.

Council Vice Chairman Huang Wan-shiang (黃萬翔) said the council decided that casino facilities remained competitive and that their potential negative social impact could be minimized by regulations and monitoring.

“We recommend development plans that incorporate integrated recreation facilities rather than focus on casino hotels,” Huang said. “This way, the nation can still distinguish itself from its rivals in the region.”

Huang said development proposals should be confined to Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, in keeping with the law that legalizes gambling on those islands.

However, Huang said development projects must be approved by local governments and obtain support from a majority of local residents through referendum before they can be built.

“The willingness of investors is also important,” Huang said. “There won’t be gambling facilities if investors don’t find such adventures profitable.”

The council decided transportation and electricity supply would not pose any problem for integrated recreation facilities on the islands, though there may be water shortages.

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