Japan and Taiwan are linked by the fact that they both have long-running sagas to try and regulate casinos in their respective jurisdictions. Recent events, however, could see their casino fortunes take diverging paths in the years to come.

In Japan, Prime Minister Abe has been a key proponent of regulating casinos. His victory in the October 2017 snap election could bring a period of political stability to Japanese politics, which would enable the regulatory process for casinos to be completed. It has been the lack of stability that has caused the process to stall in the past.

The outlook is not so good for casinos in Taiwan. The county of Kinmen held the latest in a series of referenda on casinos in Taiwan in October 2017. Turnout was apparently very low but the result was 90% of votes rejecting casinos. 

The vote in Kinmen was of particular interest because of Kinmen’s location. Kinmen is one Taiwan’s outlying islands and actually sits much closer to mainland China’s province of Fujian than Taiwan itself. 

It was 1997 when the first legislation permitting casinos in Taiwan was tabled but 20 years on there is little prospect of any casino opening. Of the four referenda held since 2009, three have rejected casinos and one has supported them.