Tue, Jul 10, 2012 - Page 3 News List

MOTC in charge of casino plans

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) will take charge of coordination among government agencies to formulate plans to facilitate the opening of casinos in Matsu, a Cabinet-level meeting said yesterday.

That was part of a three-point conclusion reached at the meeting co-chaired by ministers without portfolio Lo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) and Yang Chiu-hsing (楊秋興), Executive Yuan spokesperson Hu Yu-wei (胡幼偉) said.

Lo and Yang called the meeting following a referendum on Saturday, in which Matsu residents voted 56 percent to 41 percent in favor of the construction of casino resorts.

The Cabinet has appointed the ministry to oversee and coordinate action among different government agencies in order to draw up development plans for accommodating casino resorts in Matsu and deal with potential problems that may arise from the gambling industry, Hu said.

However, at the same time, the meeting concluded that the result of the referendum “will not necessarily lead to the establishment of a casino resort in Matsu,” because this will be contingent on the feasibility of the proposed plans, Hu said.

The initiator of the referendum — the Lienchiang County Government, which administers Matsu — was also required to submit its proposal to the ministry, he said.

Hu said no timeframe to finalize the casino development plans was decided at the meeting, but “we would like to see it completed as soon as possible.”

Discussions on whether to legalize casinos in the country have been going on since 2000 or even earlier, but the Executive Yuan has never set a definitive policy because it is a highly controversial issue and gambling is illegal under the Criminal Code, Hu said.

“Now with the referendum [on allowing casinos] passing in Matsu, we have to face the issue,” he said.

Additional reporting by Shelley Shan

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