TAIWAN - A group of Taiwan lawmakers are pushing for a law
to legalize gambling business on the offshore islands.
for centuries condemned as a scourge of Chinese society, is
now seen by some Taiwan officials as a solution to the economic
woes of islands such as Penghu. Supporters say allowing gambling
would boost economy, attract foreigners and reduce the huge
sums Taiwanese wager away every year in Macau, Las Vegas,
and the Philippines.
activists argue that economic gains are overstated and legalization
would cause obscenity, violence, and other social problems.
to local television reports, Penghu business leader Li Fu
Chen is actively preparing for a $666 million investment project
in collaboration with U.S. firm Las Vegas Sands Inc. (LVSI),
to develop a vacation villa in Penghu which will include a
five-star hotel, a casino, restaurants and facilities for
beach recreation activities. The casino would not only end
a longstanding ban on gambling in Taiwan but also creates
a new regional attraction for Chinese eager to test their
Andelson, chairman of the board of Las Vegas Sands, said in
a press statement March 8 that LVSI would be interested in
pursing a gaming venture in Taiwan if the local government
would adopt a favorable policy towards gambling. He further
stated, "LVSI have been in discussions with developers interested
in establishing tourism and casino operations on Penghu Island.
In the event that gaming is legalized in Taiwan, we believe
that our expertise and resources in the hotel, tourism and
gaming fields would be very helpful in the creation of a first
class resort there."
Islands, also known as the Pescadores, are located in the
Taiwan Strait about 83 miles from the southern Taiwan city