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Experts highlight need for strict regulations as Thailand plans to legalize gambling

February 16, 2024 SingaporeThailand iGaming & GamblingIndustry Updates

Thoughtful laws must be enacted to control the potential gaming sector, experts say, as Thai authorities contemplate legalizing gambling in the nation, including the construction of integrated resorts modeled after Singapore and the approval of internet betting sites.

These regulations might be modeled after Singapore’s, whereby local players are subject to restrictions such as exclusionary orders and entry levies that prevent them from entering integrated resort casinos, while internet gambling is still illegal at the moment. There are worries, too, that permitting casinos will just serve to spread illegal gaming across Thailand’s border communities and online.

Late last year, the Thai parliament established a special committee consisting of sixty members to look into the possibility of legalizing casinos and gambling within approved entertainment complexes. All party members of parliament have endorsed the committee, which is headed by Mr. Julapun Amornvivat, Thailand’s deputy minister of finance.

With the legalization of gaming, Thailand may now directly compete with its neighbors for tourism-related revenue from gaming. Indonesia and Brunei are the only countries in Southeast Asia to prohibit gambling, apart from Thailand. Prominent global industry players, like as MGM Resorts and Las Vegas Sands, have shown interest in obtaining licenses to open casinos in Thailand.

Legalization of gambling is justified by the need to increase government revenue, according to a recent report by a parliamentary committee that projected potential annual tax collections of billions of dollars from the construction of entertainment complexes around the country.

The proposed legislation may allow for the authorization of several forms of gambling, including as online betting, sports betting, stock exchange index betting, and foreign exchange rate betting. However, enactment might take years due to the complexity of these legislation.

One possible first step toward the legalization of other forms of gambling, particularly online gambling, may be the establishment of on-site casinos with explicit regulations. However, there is still disagreement among the public about the viability of legalizing entertainment complexes that include gambling establishments; a recent poll conducted by a parliamentary committee produced contradictory findings.

The dean of Chulalongkorn University’s Centre for Gaming Studies, Dr. Nualnoi Treerat, who provides advice to the parliamentary committee, highlights the need of properly balancing the benefits and drawbacks of gaming legalization. She emphasizes how important it is to deal with addiction issues and pass laws to guard against the possible risks associated with online gambling, which has become more popular throughout the globe.

Legislators are under pressure from special interest groups to approve online gambling, even in spite of cautions about the potential negative effects. China, among other nations, has expressed dissatisfaction with Cambodia and the Philippines for permitting internet gambling and requested that they enact legislation governing it.

Prior to considering legalizing gambling, Mr. Thanakorn Komkris, secretary-general of the Stop Gaming Foundation, stressed the need of ending illegal gaming. He stresses that in order to ensure that the industry operates correctly, comprehensive control processes are required.

Thailand’s cannabis industry has grown rapidly since it was legalized in 2022, raising concerns about inadequate regulations and monitoring. This experience should serve as a lesson. Mr. Thanakorn issues a warning against passing legislation quickly enough without ensuring enough oversight and management.

All things considered, although legalizing gambling in Thailand may help the country’s economy, experts and interested parties emphasize the need of establishing strict regulations to minimize risks and ensure responsible gaming.

Original story by: Channel News Asia

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