Taiwan’s next attraction—a casino—is possibly coming soon.
A local group that called itself the Alliance Promoting Internationalization of Penghu is reportedly near its goal of gathering enough signatures to trigger a local referendum on whether Penghu, one of Taiwan’s outlying islands, should allow casino gaming in its territory.
The alliance told Taiwan’s Chinese-language media that a referendum can be held in June, as long as it is able to get the required number of signatures next month, according to GGRAsia.
All groups that want to lobby for casinos to be legalized in the country’s outlying islands must collect 4,113 signatures, or about 5 percent of the more than 80,000 eligible voters in the island. Only then can their petitions will be sent to the election committee, which, in turn, will prepare for a referendum.
It would be the first time in seven years that another referendum was held in the island—if a referendum really takes place in June.
The government lifted the prohibition on gambling on the islands of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu. Matsu island residents voted in favor of a casino to drive tourist traffic to the island, but voters in Penghu turned down the plan to build one on their island.
Now, the alliance is “confident of gathering at least 6,000 signatures to hold the referendum,” according to a China Times report.
In 2014, the parliament discussed a bill that would potentially allow casinos on the country’s outlying islands. That bill, which was expected to come through in the first half of 2015, is currently in a state of limbo, particularly after the country voted a new president in January.
Tsai Ing-wen has been vocal about her anti-gaming stance during the election cycle, and in 2009, was also responsible for employing the Democratic Progressive Party’s strengths in grassroots organizing to defeat the Penghu casino proposal. Analysts believe that because of this, Taiwan could be at least five years away from its first integrated resort.