It won’t be long before residents in Taiwan’s outlying island of Penghu will have to decide on whether they will allow casinos in their hometowns, local media outlets have reported.
This was after the group pushing for the legalization organization gathered more than enough signatures to trigger a local referendum on the casino issue.
Chen Meng, head of the Alliance Promoting Internationalization of Penghu, was quoted by Focus Taiwan, Chen Meng saying the group had already gathered more than 5,000 signatures of eligible voters in the country—surpassing the minimum threshold of 4,113 signatures, or about 5 percent of the total eligible voters, required for a referendum.
Chen said they only need to reach their goal of 6,000 signatures before the group will submit them to the election commission for a review. The commission is expected to hold at least 100 public briefings before it prepares for a referendum.
“At the earliest, the second referendum on gaming will take place before the end of the year,” Chen said, according to the news outlet.
The country held its first referendum on gaming in September 2009, after the government lifted the prohibition on gambling on the islands of Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu. However, a total of 17,369 votes or about 56.44 percent of the total valid ballots were cast against a plan to build a casino on Penghu Island.
The country’s Referendum Act forbids groups to raise the same proposal within three years after it was thrown out.
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.