Apart from state run lotteries, gambling is forbidden in Taiwan. However in 2009 legislation was passed to permit the construction of casinos on some islands off Taiwan. These casinos could only be built if the majority of the residents on the islands in question voted for casinos in a referendum. The plan was not accepted on the Penghu Islands but when a referendum was held on the Matsu Islands in 2012, the residents voted to allow a casino to be built. To date no casinos have been built on the islands even though the Weidner Resorts group has shown interest in developing a casino on Matsu. This proposal is facing difficulties as such a development would involve the casino operator in spending over two billion dollars to improve the island’s infrastructure.
Recently there have been proposals to build a group of casinos similar to the Las Vegas strip on mainland Taiwan near to the airport in New Taipei City. This would have been a major development from just allowing casinos on the islands and it faced opposition in the legislature. The location involved is a business area near the airport and about 40 km from the capital of Taiwan. This proposal was looked on as being a possibility for casino development rather than relying on casinos on the islands which could have been very dependent on clients from China’s mainland.It had been hoped that the amendments to the casino legislation would be debated and possibly passed before the parliament sitting finishes at the end of December.
However, politicians opposed to plans to allow more casinos to be built and especially to the project at Taoyuan airport have delayed any decision being made before the end of this year. Those opposed felt that the correct regulatory measures to control the casinos wouldn’t be in place as no particular government department was named to oversee casinos. Another reason for the opposition was the fact that if permission were to be granted to construct a casino near the airport other such business zones could then build casinos too. Given the opposition to the proposed amendments to casino gambling laws, the Taiwan government is, for the moment, leaving any decisions to a later date.