Saturday, 27 September, 2008

NTUST opens lotto, gaming research center

The National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) established on 29th November 2007,  the first Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming in Taiwan to conduct the research on the thriving gaming business and help train industry professionals.

Officially named the Taiwan Lottery and Gaming Research Center, it will start offering relevant courses to postgraduates in the university’s MBA programs.

Future steps will include providing undergraduate courses and setting up a department of gaming.

Professor Chen Shih-shun, NTUST president, conceded that personally he has never purchased a lotto ticket. But he said he recognizes the role of the gaming industry in a modern and democratic society like Taiwan.

He said the new center is part of the university’s aspiration to internationalize its study program by cooperating with other higher learning and research institutions in other nations.

Prof. Liu Dai-yang, director of the center, has been engaged in gaming research after he started teaching business management at NTUST in 1988.

Liu was consigned by the Ministry Finance (MOF) and other government agencies to carry out research before the government revived the public-interest lottery several years ago.

In addition to the current Taiwan Lottery, the government is ready to launch the sports lottery soon.

Liu said the sports lottery game alone will create annual revenues for over NT$100 billion to support sports activities and social welfare programs.

With proper management Liu believes the gaming business will help reenergize business activities, create more job opportunities, and attract more tourists to the island when the number of jobs in the manufacturing sector continues to decrease.

Both neighboring Macau and Singapore have been recruiting staff from Taiwan for their gaming business. The wages they offer range from more than NT$50,000 a month to NT$1 million each year.

The figure are highly attractive for college graduates whose starting pay has declined to a little over NT$20,000 as the local economy has been trapped in prolonged doldrums for almost eight years.

A couple of universes and colleges in Taiwan have already been offering gaming courses to meet the demand from both domestic and overseas markets.

William Eadington, professor of economics and director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno, was among the guests invited to participate the ceremony marking the establishment of the NTUST’s lotto and gaming study center.

He said the gaming industry has become more mature with the extensive development in both upstream and downstream business.

The Internet has also vastly globalized modern business operations and created tremendous business opportunities, he said.

He suggested that the government here follow the examples of Melbourne, Australia and Singapore to integrate developments in the gaming business and tourism industry.

As an internationally recognized authority on the legalization and regulation of commercial gambling, Prof. Eadington has written extensively on issues relating to the economic and social impacts of commercial gaming,

He organized the First through Eleventh International Conferences on Gambling and Risk Taking between 1974 and 1997.

Dr. Eadington has also served as a consultant and advisor for governments and private sector organizations throughout the world on issues related to gaming laws, casino operations, regulation, legalization and public policy. He is a founding member of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism, and a former Associate Editor of the Annals of Tourism Research and the Journal of Gambling Studies.