he Executive Yuan Research, Development and Evaluation Commission (RDEC) released this week a survey of public sentiment towards the issue of casinos. After the passage of an amendment to the Offshore Islands Development Act earlier this month, the government had legalized casino gambling on offshore islands if a casino plan was approved by local residents in a referendum.
The survey, conducted in July, showed that 34.3 % of residents living in Taiwan proper were in support of casinos, 9.6 % gave conditional support, 36.6 % were in opposition to casinos and the other 19.9 % had no opinion.
Among polled residents living on the islands of Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu, 42.2 % supported casinos, 5.2 % conditionally supported casinos, while 36.1 % were against them and 16.5 % had no opinion. Burdge said regulators in other states, including New York, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Michigan can organize, as well as those who oversee Indian casinos in Illinois and Connecticut. He said about 300 workers could be affected by the bill.
State Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney, and state Senator Jeff Van Drew sponsor the legislation. The Assembly version is sponsored by Assemblymen John Burzichelli and Matthew Milam and Nelson Albano.
When asked to give reasons for opposing the opening of casinos, 55.4 % of respondents from offshore islands said they worried that casinos would have a negative impact on public order, while 40.6 % said casinos would have a bad influence on the social climate.
These two factors also ranked as the first two concerns for the polled respondents in Taiwan proper. When asked what the government needed to heed when mapping out casino plans, 40.3 % of respondents from offshore islands said that casinos should only be built within international resorts that might include hotels and other tourism facilities.
Other than the location concerns, 31.7 % of respondents said the government had to be sure that the establishment of casinos would not worsen tranquility and public order.
The survey showed that 77.9 % of the public in Taiwan proper and 69 % of the public on outlying islands agreed that Taiwanese should be allowed to visit casinos, while 9.3 % of the public in Taiwan proper and 14.1 % in the outlying islands preferred that casinos be limited to foreigners.