Outlying Taiwan Islands Reject Having Casinos in Referendum Vote

Residents of the Kinmen islands, which house Taiwan’s closest military base to China, voted against having casinos in a referendum that echoes the ruling party’s opposition to gambling.

This is the second county after Penghu to reject the construction of gambling developments. In a ballot asking whether to allow recreation complexes to set up casinos, 24,368 people voted “no,” compared with 2,705 who voted “yes,” the Kinmen government said on Saturday in a mobile-phone text statement.

Taiwan in January 2009 lifted a ban on casinos being set up on its outlying islands, leaving the decision to the residents. The Penghu islands voted against casinos in 2009 and 2016, and residents of Matsu were in favor in a 2012 referendum. Still, casinos can’t yet be built because there is no law to regulate the industry.

President Tsai Ing-wen, elected in 2016, has said offshore islands should look for other ways to develop tourism. Her Democratic Progressive Party, which also controls the legislature, dropped the gambling bill last year. A ban on casinos on the main island of Taiwan remains.

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