Fresh casino initiative aims to pave way for five legal casinos in Thailand

Fresh casino initiative aims to pave way for five legal casinos in Thailand

An influential panel of Thai leaders is mulling a casino initiative that would allow five gambling-friendly properties to be establishes in various parts of Thailand – a Southeast Asian country located at the centre of the Indochinese Peninsula.

According to emerging reports, a panel of House members is planning to propose the establishment of five legal casinos in the country. The panel believes that the initiative would help authorities in fighting back illegal gambling properties.

Pichet Chuamuangphan, second vice-chairman of the House committee studying casino gambling legalization, told media that the committee has already submitted their findings as well as suggestions to the government.

Thai leaders have been working on plans to bring legal casinos to the country for a long time, but nothing concrete has been seen yet. Now, the plans seem to be moving forward. However, the high tax rate proposed in the latest plan may not appeal to some potential operators.

As per the latest plan, operators would have to give up 30 per cent of their revenue in taxes. In other words, they would have to willingly part with a round a third of their total revenues. Some analysts are of the view that the high rate of tax could discourage some operators from participating in the race for a casino license. However, many other entities could be attracted if the government gives approval for online gambling.

Late last year, Sangsit Piriyarangsan – the chairman of the Senate standing committee on poverty & inequality reduction – said that it is the best chance for the country in fifty years to grand legal status to casinos. He has long advocated the legalization of casinos in the country, despite strong opoosition from certain sections of the society.

Some people continue to oppose legalization of casinos on religious grounds as gambling is in conflict with Buddhist values. Only slightly more than 21 per cent of voters supported setting up gambling-friendly properties as a means to generate more revenue for the country and to discourage citizens from resorting to foreign casinos for gambling.

Nevertheless, Sangsit said, “I don’t think the survey by NIDA Poll represents the opinion of the majority of people. MPs have a better idea of popular opinion as they are elected by the people.”

Like many other proponents of the casino legalization, Sangsit suggested strict regulations like age restrictions and annual income requirements to prevent the youth and low-income earners from gambling at casinos.