Taiwan islanders derail developer’s plans

Plans for Taiwan’s first gaming resort were derailed at the end of September when residents of the outlying Penghu islands voted down a proposal to allow casinos there.

AMZ, a Aim-listed company that has invested in land in Penghu in anticipation of developing a casino there, said it “is now expecting further details to emerge from the Taiwan government on possible future initiatives” regarding gaming in Penghu.

Penghu, an archipelago of windswept, sandy islands, is a popular destination for surfers and Taiwanese tourists in the summer but becomes all but deserted in the winter. Several gaming operators, including the Macao tycoon Stanley Ho, had earlier expressed interest in building casinos in Penghu.

The vote was a political setback for Ma Ying-jeou, the president , who in January pushed through a controversial bill reversing Taiwan's decades-old ban on gaming to help boost the lacklustre economy in the outlying islands.

While the bill allowed gaming in the offshore islands in principle, it was still subject to individual islands passing a referendum on the subject.

While plans to build a casino in Penghu were the furthest advanced, several other Taiwanese islands – including Kinmen, located just several kilometers from the Chinese mainland – have expressed interest in pursuing their own referendums.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't copy articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.