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Second casino referendum to be held in Penghu after criteria met

2016/05/19 20:55:30

A presentation held by a pro-casino group in Penghu.

Taipei, May 19 (CNA) Residents in Taiwan's outlying island county of Penghu may have to decide whether to allow casinos to be opened in their hometowns through a referendum, which could likely take place before the end of the year after the criteria for such a poll is met.

More than 5,000 signatures of eligible voters in the county have been collected, surpassing the minimum threshold of 4,114 signatures -- 5 percent of the total eligible voters -- required for a referendum to be held, according to Chen Meng (陳猛), the convener of an alliance that is pushing for the legalization of gaming in Penghu.

As soon as the number of signatures reaches its goal of 6,000, the alliance will send them to the county's election commission for a review, Chen said, noting that the proposed referendum will be prepared after the review is completed and 100 public briefings are held.

"At the earliest, the second referendum on gaming will take place before the end of the year," Chen predicted.

In the first referendum held on Sept. 26, 2009, a total of 17,369 votes, or 56.44 percent of the total valid ballots, were cast against the proposition, while 13,397, or 43.56 percent, supported it. Another 298 ballots were ruled invalid.

Under the Referendum Act, the same proposal cannot be raised within three years.

Gambling is not allowed on Taiwan proper, but the Legislature passed an amendment to the Offshore Islands Development Act in January 2009, allowing outlying islands to establish tourist casinos if their residents say yes through a referendum.

(By Chen Chi-ching and Elizabeth Hsu)
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