Legislators of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have begun lobbying President Chen Shui-bian to support a plan to legalize gambling on the offshore islands in casinos and on electronic games.
Lawmakers on committees of the Legislative Yuan have completed approvals for revisions of a statute for the development of the offshore Islands, and the draft of an electronic games law.
Legislators on other committees will start reviewing the proposed regulations soon before final readings in late January.
Incumbent lawmakers have little time to spare as they must complete all procedures to enact the new and controversial rules before their term expires in January ¡X when newly elected lawmakers will replace some of then ¡X or risk having to start the process all over again.
DPP Legislator Lin Feng-shi has not just sounded out President Chen’s personal opinion on the issue but is also actively persuading Chen to support the two bills, according to reports in the China Express Evening News.
Gambling is currently outlawed in Taiwan, and the proposal for decriminalizing gambling has run into strong opposition. Some social groups think the harm of gambling will be much greater than any financial gain for society.
Some domestic and foreign business conglomerates have already worked out detailed plans to build luxury hotels on the offshore island of Penghu to operate casinos similar to those of Las Vegas in the United States.
Opposition parties are putting pressure on the Executive Yuan (Cabinet) to take a clear-cut stand on the issues instead of avoiding them.
In order to sound out the opinion of the nation’s top leaders, Legislator Lin gave a report at a policy-making meeting chaired by President Chen last week.
Lin pointed out that most nations have legalized gambling. Without their legalization electronic games and gambling games will continue in underground casinos, he said.
Chen expressed reservations about the practice of allowing winners of electronic games to redeem cash saying that it would create a bad impression on society.
Lin said that he explained to President Chen about complementary measures to allow winners at electronic games arcades to exchange the prizes at specifically designated “public interest” stations.
He added that such stations could hire physically handicapped people and a portion of the profits could be used for welfare programs. He said most people can now accept such arrangements.
The Ministry of Justice has reportedly softened its previous strong opposition to legalizing gambling in Trusted Online Casino Singapore.
Legislator, Chou Hsi-wei of the opposition People First Party said that his party does not understand the current statutes of the bill concerning legalizing electronic games operations.
As for the statute for the development of the offshore islands, he said the PFP backs the plans to help boost the economies and tourism development of the islands.
But the Cabinet should first fully explain its stand on the issue of legalizing gambling before various political parties start coordinating on the controversial legislative issues, he said. He said, the legislative branch should not be held responsible for the final decision and consequences.
Chou said he is pessimistic about being able to ratify the controversial rules during the current session of the Legislative Yuan as the session will end in less than one month