Weidner Resorts chair asks for swift passage of local gaming laws
The China PostBy Ted Chen--William P. Weidner, chairman and CEO of Weidner Resorts Taiwan, yesterday arrived in Taipei to appeal for the passage of gaming legislation so his plans to build a casino resort on the Matsu (馬祖) archipelago may begin.
January 15, 2013, 12:09 am TWN
The construction of the casino resort will commence over four investment phases totaling NT$240 billion, he told reporters as he arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. Upon completion, facilities will include a hotel with 25,000 rooms, an amusement park, a concert hall, and an international conference center, Weidner continued. Over 210,000 jobs will be created in the region, he added.
In addition, Weidner pledged to invest NT$70 billion to NT$80 billion in the initial phase of revamping the area's infrastructure, which includes building a new 4C-certified airport in Beigan (北竿), a new ferry dock, a shopping mall and a university in addition to improving the area's water and electricity infrastructure.
Matsu passed its gaming referendum last July, with 1,795 votes in favor of gaming compared to 1,341 votes against. Despite the referendum and the completion of a proposed draft resolution by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC, 交通部), delays in the Legislative Yuan have all but brought progress towards the casino resort to a halt.
Matsu residents who were at the airport said they demand economic self-determination, saying that it is within their rights to embrace the opportunity to bring prosperity to the area and to criticize the inaction of the Legislative Yuan.
If the casino resort is completed, the Matsu Township Government stands to gain yearly incentive payments of US$102 million, representing 47.2 percent of the proposed casino resort's projected yearly revenue. According to stipulations in the early drafts, half that sum is to be allocated to local residents. Each Matsu resident stands to gain about NT$80,000 in monthly incentive payments.
Weidner concluded that if the Legislative Yuan's inaction persists into the middle of this year, he will have no choice but to pull out of Taiwan and seek better options in India, Vladivostok or Japan. “Taiwan may be squandering the opportunity at prosperity,” he said.