Taiwan’s parliament is set to discuss a bill that would regulate casino gambling next month. If discussions go smoothly, there’s a chance that a draft of the legislation could be approved before June 2015.
That was the opinion voiced by Liu Day-Yang, director of the Centre for the Study of Lottery and Commercial Gaming at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, during a conference panel at the Macao Gaming Summit.
“Taiwan will have local elections on November 29. After that, lawmakers have to go back to work and review the bills with higher priority, including the casino draft law,” Liu said, as quoted by GGRAsia.
Taiwan lifted its casino prohibition in 2009. In 2012, residents of Taiwan’s outlying Matsu island chain took things a step further when they voted to allow casinos to help drive up its tourism industry.
The current draft of the bill includes provisions that would only allow casinos to be built on offshore islands. Interested operators can apply for 30-year licenses and taxes won’t go above 16% of gross gaming revenues. In the first 15 years of those licenses, operators are obligated to pay a 7% tax to the local government on top of a 7% national tax. From years 16 to 25, the national tax would increase to 8% before increasing to 9% in the last five years.
Liu believes the Matsu county legislator “will try to push for the bill to be passed. In the most optimistic scenario, the draft law could be passed in the first half of 2015.”
The bill’s passing was said to be highly dependent on the results of the local elections. Liu said the Democratic Progressive Party is likely to give its consent to the draft, since it will only allow the construction of gambling venues on islands of Kinmen, Matsu, and Penghu. Thus, their economies and tourism will be enhanced due to the increased number of visitors and new jobs will be created.