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U.S. firm assesses Kinmen's feasibility as casino site

U.S. firm assesses Kinmen's feasibility as casino site

Taipei, March 11 (CNA) A representative of a U.S. investment consulting firm visited the island county of Kinmen Wednesday to assess the prospects of Kinmen developing its own casino and tourism industry.
John Turner, a representative of Pro Forma Advisors, traveled to Kinmen on a fact-finding trip arranged by the American Institute in Taiwan, the de facto embassy of the United States in Taiwan.
Turner said his visit was aimed at getting a better understanding of Kinmen's infrastructure development and its potential for future development to be able to provide professional advice to his clients.
He will also visit Penghu Island, located off Taiwan's southwestern county of Chiayi, for the same purpose.
Setting up casinos in Kinmen was made possible after the Legislative Yuan passed a law in January legalizing gambling on any of Taiwan's many islands. It stipulated that casinos would have to be set up as part of tourist hotels.
The law requires, however, that local residents must approve the concept in a public referendum before gaming projects can be launched.
Any proposed casino plan will require "yes" votes from over half of the total ballots cast in the referendum, according to the law.
In a meeting with Deputy Kinmen County Magistrate Yang Chung-chuan, Turner was told that details of Kinmen's casino-related law needed to be fleshed out further before it could be put to a referendum.
Yang estimated that supporters and opponents of the casino plan in Kinmen were evenly distributed.
Yang said he personally hopes that the development of casinos in Kinmen will not compromise the ferry services and tourism exchanges between Kinmen and Xiamen -- a major port city in China's Fujian province.
He added that regardless of the fate of potential casino projects, Kinmen's infrastructure would be strengthened, including expanding Shuitou Port, making Shangyi Airport an international gateway and upgrading National Kinmen College of Technology into a university.
The county also hopes to build underseas pipes to bring in fresh water from China and to build a bridge of at least 8.6 kilometers connecting Kinmen and Xiamen, he said.
(By Deborah Kuo)