A referendum on a small island group over the weekend has paved the way for Taiwan’s first casino, and is great news for land based casino operators wanting to expand in Asia’s fast growing gambling industry.

Almost 57% of Matsu’s voters went in favour of government plans to build a casino, Taiwanese media reported.

Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts have been among the companies eager on setting up a resort in Taiwan given its close proximity to China and large markets such as Korea and Japan.

Gambling is illegal in Taiwan but an amendment passed in 2009 permitted building casino resorts on offshore islands.

Matsu, named after a Chinese sea goddess, is home to 8,000 people and is a 30-minute ferry ride from China’s Fujian province.

Residents in favour of a casino resort say it would boost infrastructure and help develop islands’ tourism industry.

Matsu is one of the smallest of the offshore island groups that the Taiwanese government has enabled to vote for casinos in local referendums.

Residents of the Penghu Islands, off the western coast of Taiwan, in 2009 rejected plans to build a casino there.

Source: gaming-awards.com

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