Government advisers seem to have given a green (or at least amber) light to plans for casinos on Taiwan soil.
Those readers with an engineering background will be reminded that an amber light can signal stop or go. It all depends where it appears in the sequence.
So the fact that Taiwan’s Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) issued a statement a few days ago saying it supported the plan shouldn’t obscure the fact that the measure will still have to get past Taiwan’s legislators. Among this august group, tactics for settling a debate tend to veer between tortoise-like filibuster and bare knuckle fighting.
This doesn’t blind AGI to the possibility that if the scheme does move forwards it could happen with uncharacteristic speed. This is especially the case at a time of regional economic downturn, when governments everywhere are looking for new ways to pull in tax and create new jobs at the same time, and when Taiwan in particular is feeling increasingly out on an economic limb.
Estimates on how many jobs could be created in Taiwan vary wildly depending on whom you’re talking to, but a conservative estimate from the CEPD for up to three resorts is 5,000 full-time workers plus an additional 15,000 temporary workers.
Gary Loveman, chairman and chief executive of the US-based casino operator Harrah’s said recently in media interviews that he was watching the legalisation debate in Taiwan with interest.
“Taiwan is potentially a terrific market. You have a lot of the same dynamics that you have in Macau: an enormous population both locally and regionally with a strong interest in gaming, and a limited amount of supply,” Mr Loveman was quoted as saying.
“No one knows what the tax rate would be and you can’t predict all those things in advance. But you certainly have the right starting conditions,” he added.