8 Jul 2012

Taiwan island votes in favour of country's first casino resort

3:20 pm on 8 July 2012

Residents of a Taiwanese island just off the coast of China have voted to allow a casino to be built there.

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

Advocates of casinos on Matsu say it will boost the local economy, but opponents, including Buddhists and social welfare groups, say it could lead to an over-reliance on the gambling industry and an increase in crime.

The Taiwanese government is hoping to emulate the success of the Chinese territory of Macau, whose casinos attract millions of visitors from the mainland.