Does Thailand need casinos? Study to be submitted next month

Stock Photo by Renato Marques on Unsplash

In May, a committee of Thailand’s cabinet members and politicians will submit a study on the feasibility of bringing casinos, and casino resorts to Thailand, to the country’s House of Representatives. The first resort would likely be in Bangkok, however the committee is discussing opening more in other tourist destinations after that.

Rumours have yet to be confirmed that Las Vegas Sands, an American casino and resort company, is in talks with Thai officials to procure a casino license, the first of its kind in Thailand. Last month, Sands CEO Rob Goldstein said the company is in discussion with politicians in an unidentified “major” Asian country. LVS currently operates 6 integrated resorts, all of which are in Asia. Five are in Macau and one at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Officials are considering making entry rules far more strict for Thais than for foreigners. Thai gamblers would need to show their identity card, career information, source of income, financial status, saving account, statement, and financial credits. The casino complex would also have a minimum age limit and entry fee.

Gambling is currently mostly illegal in Thailand, with a few exceptions. These exceptions include the bi-monthly lottery, and in some cases, betting on horse races. Regular Police crackdowns and raids on gamblers and underground gambling dens are common in the country.

The committee studying the implications of this possible casino resort consists of 60 members. 15 are cabinet members, and 45 members are from various political parties. The soon-to-be-submitted study investigates tax collection, the resort’s location, attracting investment, operations, and impact on local communities.

Next-door, Cambodia has clusters of casinos in the country, and has become a hub for East Asia gambling, with around 125 casinos already established. Half of Cambodia’s Casinos are located in the formerly pristine seaside town of Sihanoukville, located on the Gulf of Thailand. It has since become a mini-Macau with the beachfront littered with flashy buildings and casinos, mostly operated by Chinese consortiums.

SOURCE: Thailand Legal Resource

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.