January 17, 2023 Thailand
The House of Representatives of Thailand has approved a report that proposed the foundation of casino-integrated resorts in a certain number of locations across the country. The approval is a step forward to more detailed discussions about legalized casinos among the members of Parliament propelled by recent surveys testifying about broad support among the Thai population in this regard.
Inside Asian Gaming cited The Bangkok Post to report that the comprehensive report developed by a special House committee last year was the subject of a long debate on Thursday that closed with the report approval by 310 votes to nine. Still, the approval of the report does not automatically legalize casino gaming. Actually, the voting result, together with any comments of the representatives, will now be delivered to the government for further consideration and a more thorough analysis of the economic prospects arising out of this opportunity.
Long way to go:
Commenting on the state procedure upon the approval, the House committee member Pakornwut Udompipatsakul of the Move Forward Party said: “A decision on the casino-entertainment complex project is likely to be made by the next government. It can’t happen within two or three years and most importantly public hearings and even a referendum among locals must be organized.”
The report compiled by the special House committee proposes the integration of legalized casinos within the entertainment & leisure resorts in up to five locations in the country. The authors proposed Bangkok and Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor, which includes the likes of Pattaya and Rayong, as the most suitable locations for the suggested developments.
Proposed by report:
They also suggested that casino areas occupy no more than 5% of the total floor space of an entertainment complex that would use the remaining space to incorporate attractions such as five-star hotels and shopping malls, amusement parks and beauty parlors, as well as indoor and outdoor sports stadiums and a zoo.
The report also recommends casinos be open to foreigners and locals aged 21 years and above, whereas the latter would need to prove the possession of at least TBH500,000 (US$15,000) in their accounts over the previous six months to be eligible to gamble. In Thursday’s session, the report was approved with a large number of the representatives’ votes and forwarded to the government for a more in-depth study.
Widely welcome idea:
The final decision is not expected soon. But the survey conducted by the Casino Committee of Thailand among Thai citizens last year – showing that around 80 percent of the respondents had welcomed the idea of gambling-friendly resorts in the country – may impact the government’s final decision.