Gambling Legislation

Thailand’s chances for casino legalization are improving

Thailand's chances for casino legalization are improving

The country’s government is closer to approving the rules to allow casinos for the first time

Thailand’s Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat recently announced that a report regarding the proposal to legalize casinos in the country will be available in three to four weeks for cabinet review.

The final draft of the bill to authorize casinos within entertainment complexes is nearly complete. A special House committee drafted the proposal after receiving input from 16 government agencies. Their input will be incorporated within amendments to the draft.

If approved, the bill will be sent to the Office of the Council of State for further consideration before it is introduced to the House of Representatives.

Reports from The Nation indicate that government agencies responded with comprehensive feedback about the social and economic impact of legalized casinos. While all parties agreed on the proposal’s economic benefits, several agencies stressed the need for methods to reduce the social problems associated with gambling.

A major challenge in legalizing casinos is the regulatory framework, which many feel isn’t very solid. This could cause top international casino operators and investors to shy away from bidding for licenses and investing in Thailand’s gaming infrastructure.

Another challenge for international companies is the unstable political climate in Thailand, which has averaged a coup about once every four years over the last century.

The bill aims to form a national committee comprised of various agency representatives to manage the project. The five potential new casino locations are two in Bangkok and one each in Chiang Mai, Phuket, and the Eastern Economic Corridor. In May, Amornvivat proposed that casino facilities would make up no more than about 5% cent of the facility’s total area.

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