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Premier rules out more casino zones in Taiwan... for now

TAIPEI--Premier Jiang Yi-huah said yesterday that Taiwan at present only allows special casino zones on its outlying islands for legal reasons and that more consensus is needed before such zones can be established on Taiwan proper.

Jiang said an idea proposed by Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou a day earlier to develop a casino industry in New Taipei or other parts of northern Taiwan is not possible because gambling on the main island is prohibited by the Criminal Code.

The outlying islands are exempt from this ban thanks to the Offshore Islands Development Act. Revised in 2009, the act allows residents to decide through a referendum whether to allow casinos on their islands.

According to Gou, one of the country's richest tycoons, Taiwan should follow the example of Las Vegas and set up a special casino area with convention and exhibition facilities in the Tamsui District of New Taipei to boost the economy.

Gou's idea was welcomed by Weidner Resorts, the developer that has been planning on building a casino resort on Matsu — the Taiwan-held small island chain just 16 kilometers off the coast of the city of Fuzhou in China.

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