Mon, Nov 07, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Making gambling legal will threaten society: legislator

By Jean Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Following the recently publicized scandal involving governmental officials and gambling, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Kuo Jung-chung (郭榮宗) yesterday warned against the legalization of gambling, saying that such a move would probably cause more social problems.

Kuo said that politicians from every political party frequently gamble abroad, and that allowing casinos into the country and legalizing gambling could present a threat to social order, he added.

Yeh Chih-kuei (葉智魁), a professor from National Dong Hwa University specializing in the research of US casinos, said that casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City have caused crime rates to surge in those areas as well as increasing levels of corruption among government officials.

Those who advocate the establishment of casinos try to make sure that the building of such places will not disturb the social order, Yeh said. However, even in the largely law-abiding society that is the US, crime rates in casino districts are higher than other areas, he added.

Yeh also said that it would be a waste of resources to have extra police helping to maintain order in casino districts if gambling was legalized in Taiwan.

Shih Chao-hui (釋昭慧), professor of ethics at Hsuan Chuang University, said he was planning to pass a petition against the legalization of gambling around election candidates to sign before the elections.

Shih said that the signatures he obtains will be announced later in the month to see which candidates agree or disagree with such a policy and urged voters to vote against those who want to legalize gambling.

"We don't want Taiwan to become the ROC -- the Republic of Casino," Shih said. "Many people are disillusioned, thinking that casinos will bring in money and benefits, but that's not true. We have to surrender social order and morals when we have casinos."

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