Fri, Jan 03, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Lawmakers pass partial review for casino draft act

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Legislators yesterday morning moved forward a draft act aimed at regulating casinos built within hotel resorts during a meeting of the legislature’s Transportation Committee.

A preliminary review of 31 of the 114 articles of the draft tourism gaming management act (觀光賭場管理條例草案) passed the committee yesterday, with the majority of the articles reserved for bipartisan negotiations later.

The articles passed by the committee include the purpose of such legislation, as well as regulations governing the applications of the tourism gaming licenses. The committee also agreed that casinos can only be built on outlying islands.

The committee further ruled that the remaining articles in the act be negotiated later, before being reviewed by the full legislature.

Anti-gambling activists protested at the main entrance of the Legislative Yuan as the committee met, saying that the legislators supporting the legalization of casinos would turn the Republic of China into the “Republic of Casino.”

According to the draft of the act proposed by the Executive Yuan, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications would be the administrative authority regulating the gaming industry.

The ministry can designate a specific agency to regulate the daily affairs of the casinos.

However, rather than delegate such authority to a specific agency, Democrat-ic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) proposed that the ministry be held responsible for regulating casinos.

Yeh’s proposal was seconded by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Ken-de (陳根德) and Alex Tsai (蔡正元).

However, DPP legislators Kuan Bi-ling (管碧玲) and Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) said that an independent cross-department agency should regulate casinos, not the transportation and communications ministry.

Both Lee and Kuan said casino management is not merely a tourism affair. They said it cannot be done by one ministry alone and requires the coordination of law enforcement agencies and the Ministry of Finance.

The committee also passed unanimously passed a resolution proposed by Kuan and Yeh that states that the Act for the Promotion of Private Participation in Infrastructure Projects (促進民間參與公共建設法) does not apply to casinos, as they are not public infrastructure.

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