PM Srettha: Legalise casinos to save Thailand’s economy

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin advocated for the legalisation of casinos to combat the shadowy underworld economy in Thailand.

PM Srettha outlined his vision for a new law permitting entertainment complexes housing legal casinos, aiming to drag illicit activities into the light and bolster national revenue streams.

“We have to bring the grey [underground] economy into the light to allow us to control it, both for security and suitability. And we can collect taxes properly. I agree with this and believe it’s an important issue.”

The Bangkok-born Thai prime minister articulated the potential of legal casinos to dissolve the nation’s pervasive illegal gambling dens while concurrently replenishing the treasury.

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“If they can go to legal casinos, why will people continue breaking the law? Gamblers can try their luck at legal casinos.”

Addressing opposition, the 62 year old PM asserted the necessity of parliamentary deliberation, urging lawmakers to heed the voice of the populace. He called for an end to the hypocrisy surrounding gambling, advocating for stringent regulations to oversee its practice.

In his dual role as finance minister, the Thai prime minister acknowledged the prolonged timeline for implementing the proposed law, acknowledging the ongoing battle against illegal gambling. Labour Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn echoed the sentiment, foreseeing a surge in job opportunities with the establishment of legal casinos within entertainment complexes across Thailand, reported The Nation.

Phiphat anticipated the creation of up to 50,000 new jobs, underscoring the potential economic windfall and the prospect of quelling illegal gambling through legitimate means.

ORIGINAL STORY: Legalising casinos to boost economy: Thailand House of Representatives forms committee

A 60-member committee to probe into the potential launch of entertainment hubs, inclusive of casinos, has been established by Thailand’s House of Representatives. This move seeks to rectify the issue of underground casinos and invigorate the nation‘s financial state, as suggested in a proposal put forth by members of parliament from diverse parties.

The endorsers of the proposal encompassed Thoedchart Chaipong, a Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Rai; Non Paisanlimcharoenkij, a Move Forward Party MP for Nonthaburi; and Chatchawal Kong-udom, a United Thai Nation Party list-MP.

The process of establishing a committee to explore this matter was debated upon in a House session presided over by House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha.

Rangsiman Rome, a Move Forward Party list MP, conveyed his agreement, whilst cautioning that a parallel working group had also been set up by the preceding House of Representatives to scrutinise this issue.

The opposition MP disclosed that he was alerted about a Tak province-based firm, implicated in human trafficking and illicit human organs trading, that managed to send a representative to present its perspective before the committee, seemingly with harmful intent.

Rangsiman emphasised the requirement for preventative steps against ill-intent influence. He expressed his belief that legalising casinos could lead to the downfall of casinos operating at the borders, thereby redirecting the money of Thai gamblers towards the government revenue for national development.

United Thai Nation Party list-MP Chatchawal underscored the financial loss resulting from Thai citizens travelling to neighbouring countries for casino gambling. Chatchawal revealed that he had initially proposed the legalisation of casinos 30 years ago, but faced opposition, reported Bangkok Post.

He suggested situating at least five entertainment complexes with casinos strategically across the country — one each in the North, the South, the East, the West and the Central Plains. He affirmed that this would provide local employment opportunities, eliminating the need for some Thais to seek employment overseas.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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