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Thailand takes first step towards foreign-player casino development

Thailand is considering the introduction of casinos in a bid to attract foreign money and lure tourists to the region.

The country's motion to develop casino resorts comes after a panel of Thai lawmakers submitted a report to parliament, according to Bloomberg.

The report contained a recommendation for the Government to issue a decree, allowing for “entertainment complexes” under national law. These complexes would include legal casinos and be built in key cities across the country.

Constructing casinos across Thailand comes as part of a bigger plan to revive the country’s crippled tourism industry. Blueprints detailing plans to develop casinos could help Thailand generate billions of dollars from foreign investors as well as tourists.

Supposedly, plans submitted to the Government would also allow Thai locals to gamble at home, rather than spend money in neighbouring countries.

This would likely require an extensive legislative push to overturn, or at least amend, the country’s Gambling Act 1935.

The only gambling activity legal in Thailand is betting on horse races and the government-sponsored Thai lottery.

A lawmaker from the Pheu Thai Party and Vice-Chairman of the Panel, Pichet Chuamuangphan, said: “We’re focused on attracting foreigners to step up tourism and draw more money out of their pockets.

“This will also stem the outflow of money from Thai gamblers and help the government collect hefty taxes for our economic security.”

Furthermore, Pichet said ideal provinces for housing a casino are Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga.

It’s worth noting that, overall, the move to legalise gambling in Thailand comes as part of a broader movement toward a more liberal, law-abiding Thailand.

For instance, the country is the first in Southeast Asia to try and legalise same-sex unions.


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