The Thai government is set to legalise casinos to attract investment and boost tourism despite public opposition.

According to a report presented by the House of Representatives, the Thai government is again considering legalising casinos to boost investment and tourism. Past attempts to legalise casinos in Thailand have failed due to public opposition.

Currently, gambling in Thailand is limited to state-run horse racing and the national lottery. Despite the restrictions, about 10 per cent of Thais suffer from gambling addiction – a pathological tendency to gamble – according to a report by a committee of 60 lawmakers from the government and opposition.

Industry experts say the establishment of a legal casino sector in Thailand would attract a significant number of foreign tourists, potentially competing with Macau, China’s top gambling destination and the only place where Chinese citizens can legally gamble in casinos.

Although the legalisation of gambling has been discussed many times before, no administration has proceeded with a solution due to widespread public opposition.

A poll conducted in 2021 showed that 46.51 per cent of respondents oppose the legalisation of gambling due to concerns about morality and crime, while only 21.25 per cent support the idea.

A similar report was approved by the previous parliament, but the proposal had to be postponed indefinitely because parliament dissolved before the cabinet had time to consider the proposal.

The submitted report also includes a draft casino bill that must be approved by parliament before it can be considered by the cabinet.

It is proposed that private enterprises bear the cost of building and operating casino-based entertainment complexes, with the government overseeing taxation and regulation, explained Sorawong Thienthong, deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee.

“Thai and foreign companies with expertise in this field will be responsible for most of the investment,” Soravong said.

Sorawong estimated that the minimum investment to set up a large complex would be around 100 billion baht (US$2.79 billion).

Although the report does not specify the number or location of these entertainment complexes, it suggests locating at least one in a prestigious tourist area, no more than 100 kilometres from the international airport.

Sorawong said the report will be tabled in Parliament on March 28 to finalise legislation and begin the process of issuing licences to investors during the current government’s term.

More Articles Here

More Articles Here