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CR82-p22&23-Feature:SJC-Casino Review 26/7/09 09:45 Page 1
A future gambling sector in the off lying Taiwanese
island of Penghu should edge a little closer recently with
a vote of approval expected from the locals this
summer. Andrew Gellatly travelled to the island to
find out if the chances of success for casinos were
water tight, treading water or dead in it.
vote signals
crucial first
step for
new industry
bigintaiwan Liu Day-Yang, a professor Many international oper-
FEATURE in the college on manage- ators including MGM and
ment at Taipei’s National Uni- Harrah’s have visited the
n historic vote on versity of Science and islands to assess the feasi-
the tropical island Technology, and advisor to bility of building a casino
of Penhgu later this the recent Council for Eco- but observers note that the
summer should nomic Planning and Devel- steep capital commit-
bring casinos to the opment (CEPD) study that ments, a frozen interna-
Taiwan for the first time. Fol- strongly advocated the intro- tional credit market, and
lowing presidential duction of resort casinos on the uncertainty over
approval of the Penghu local Taiwan’s outlying islands, Chinese visitor policy make
government’s request to Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu, investment problematic. that the government would
hold a referendum on the says he believes a strong “We have got to make sure implement a proposal that
Island a vote could take place majority of that sort is neces- investors can make money- would open sectors includ-
as soon as August, but in any sary to push things forward. with Macau and Singapore ing retailing, hotels, air-
case before the year’s end. “As long as Penghu also competing in the region ports and seaports, tourism
At the same time passes their referendum we have to make sure the facilities, public construc-
Taiwan’s ministry of trans- the Ministry of Transport proposal is attractive,” says tion and telecommunica-
port, charged with over- has no way to delay.” Day-Yang, who is continuing tions services as the first
seeing the implementation While Penghu is not the to advise the Taiwanese gov- stage of a much wider
of legal gambling in Taiwan only island in contention for ernment on their casino investment scheme that
has also begun the process casino development is has a implementation strategy. could allow Chinese com-
of commissioning of a fea- clear head start on its rivals Business taxation levels panies to participate in
sibility study to set the which face much more in Taiwan are currently set more than 100 sectors.
terms for casino license ambivalent political endorse- at 20 percent, half of the According to Liu Day Yang,
bidding in 2010 ment at a local level. gaming tax level in Macau the move may prove a trans-
According to Daniel Hung, The CEPD’s report pre- but slightly higher than the formative one for casino
the director of Penghu’s dicted that between 5,000 15 percent gaming taxation development in Taiwan, in
tourism bureau, the provin- and 15,000 jobs could be levels proposed for Singa- that it would allow Chinese
cial government there has created as a result of casino pore’s two integrated investors to partner with
been conducting a hearts development on the islands, resorts scheduled to open international casino opera-
and minds campaign in the but before that happens offi- next year. “We are watching tors to construct properties
outlying villages which stand cials at Taiwan’s Ministry of Singapore closely for sure, once the country’s gaming
to gain most from the devel- Transportation have to but Japan is watching us law is finalised later this year.
opment and odds are now ensure that the license closely too,” says Day-Yang. “It will be almost impossi-
strongly in favour of a yes tender competition is framed One hope may rest with ble to avoid Chinese invest-
vote. “The most recent in a way that will appeal to Mainland Chinese invest- ment in this area,” said Liu,
polling suggests the vote will investors struggling with the ment. In May Taiwan’s com- speaking at the recent 14th
be sixty-five percent in worst capital market condi- missioner for International Conference on
favour,” Hung said. tions in recent history. infrastructure confirmed Gambling and Risk Taking at
22 August 2009 • feature
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