Matsu casino to create thousands of jobs: investor

The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The head of a company seeking to build a casino resort in Matsu expects the project to create thousands of jobs for Taiwan, the Central News Agency reported yesterday. William P. Weidner told CNA that he is committed to developing the remote Matsu, having visited all of its islands and villages and talked to their residents to understand their needs. He was talking to CNA in the Philippines where he attended a ceremony marking the opening of a casino resort his company invested in. For the Matsu project, he has set up Weidner Resorts Taiwan, which has already seen the island residents pass a referendum in favor of legalizing gambling on their premises.

Weidner said Matsu residents told him they want a good airport, bridges linking their islands, and a university. He urged the anti-gambling camp to listen to what Matsu people want. Matsu, which lies just off China’s southeastern shore, is an economic backwater, with many of its young people having left home to live and work in Taiwan proper. But Weidner said the resort project will one day be as prosperous as Macau, creating 70,000 direct job openings and 140,000 indirect ones, with most of the employees coming from Taiwan.

He claimed that 3.6 million Taiwanese visited casinos abroad last year, about 1.2 million of whom went to Macau and 500,000 to South Korea. He estimates that 80 percent of the visitors to the Matsu resort will be from China and 20 percent from Taiwan.

The Legislature is expected to review the bill concerning legalizing gambling during the current session.

Weidner said if the bill is delayed, it will affect the investments. He said he would be willing to wait, but the banks might not.