The Taiwan government is facing calls from at least one resort developer to expedite the passage of a gaming bill that would green light casinos to be built in the island chain of Matsu. Focus Taiwan News Channel is reporting that William Weidner, the chairman of Weidner Resorts Taiwan, made the trip to the country earlier this week to get updated on the state of the gambling bill with the hopes that the bill will pass sooner than later.
As the only company that has proposed to build a casino in Matsu, the American-based developer’s patience is apparently wearing thin, threatening to pull the project off the table if a resolution to the gambling sooner than later. The timetable set by the developer appears to be the end of June, at which time the company will shift its investment in other countries, including India, Russia, and even Japan. “Weidner is keen to carry out the resort project in Matsu,” Julia Lee, the vice president of Weidner’s Taiwan Development division, told CNA before sending out a thinly veiled warning that if there’s no speedy legislation, the company won’t be able to keep the allocated funds for the project idle for too long.
You can understand the impatience that Weidner is showing over the seemingly slow pace the Taiwanese government is taking in passing legislation to give the go-ahead to build a casino in Matsu. Remember, it was back in July 2012 when the country’s Matsu island group voted ‘yes’ in their referendum on whether to allow construction of a resort casino. Since then, the draft bill on legalizing gambling has yet to be approved by the Cabinet and Legislature, and without it, the entire project is effectively shelved on ice.
For their part, the casino developer is doing all it can to ingratiate itself to the local Matsu company. William Weidner himself is reportedly expected to meet local residents in Matsu to not only introduce his company’s development plans for the community, but more importantly, appease all the concerns from a separate group of residents who aren’t too excited to see such an expensive project to be built in the small community out of fear that the project would threaten the community’s safety and security.
In addition to the integrated resort, which includes 2,000 hotel rooms, a casino floor, a ferry terminal and a performance venue, Weiden’s $8.3 billion investment in Matsu will also include significant financial support to upgrade the airport on Beigan, as well as building a causeway linking Beigan and Nangan Island to the south, and building and establishing a university.