after cannabis, the legalization of casinos under study

While Thailand has recently decriminalized cannabis to the delight of tourists and visitors, the “Land of the White Elephant” is now considering building casinos to attract foreign capital, a way to revitalize its economy hard hit by the recent Covid-19 pandemic.

In Thailand, a bill authorizing the construction of casino-resorts

On Wednesday, July 27, a group of Thai legislators submitted a report to Parliament that recommends the construction of hotel complexes with integrated casino in the country’s main cities. For many MPs, this proposal comes at the right time as Thailand seeks to revive its tourism industry, a pillar of the country’s economy.

The objective of such a measure would naturally be to encourage foreign investors, tourists and nationals of neighboring countries to spend more. Indeed, the legislators are aiming at billions of dollars in revenue. Pichet Chuamuangphan, from the Pheu Thai party and co-author of the report, does not hide it: ” We are trying to attract foreigners to increase tourism and get more money out of their pockets “.

And Pichet Chuamuangphan continues: ” It would also allow us to stem the outflow of money from Thai players, and allow the government to collect taxes to ensure our economic security “He explains that Thailand must move towards a more liberal legal regime, in line with actions taken in the recent past. Indeed, let us recall that Thailand became the very first country in Asia to decriminalize cannabis. It was also the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize same-sex unions.

Broadening the appeal of the tourism industry and involving the local population

To build a first casino-resort of international stature, Greater Bangkok would probably be the ideal location. The hypothetical first resort would be followed by facilities in southern seaside provinces such as Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga. However, with a total of seventy-seven provinces in Thailand, there may be many more cities applying than expected.

While lawmakers hope to generate a minimum of $11 billion in additional tax revenue each year, Thailand’s gambling law, which dates back to 1935, currently prohibits most types of betting. However, pending a potential revision, the law includes a provision that gives the government the ability to issue decrees to allow certain activities.

According to analysts at Bloomberg Intelligence, one of the keys to the success of Thailand’s future casinos would be to allow the local population to take up gambling (and this from the age of 20, subject to income). ” In the casinos of Vietnam and South Korea, we can see that attendance is up and down because only tourists and foreigners are accepted “, explain the said analysts. In addition, each resort should be equipped with a hotel, an amusement park and several outlets to avoid the creation of “gambling dens”, the aim being to broaden the appeal of the local tourism industry.

Kayleigh Williams