House Committee Proposes Development of Five Casino Complexes in Thailand
- The casino plan is aimed at boosting the local economy and attracting more visitors
- A 30% tax will be imposed on each casino, and under-20s won’t be allowed to enter
- The committee was formed in December 2021 to study the feasibility of casino legalization
A House committee looking into the viability of allowing casino gaming in Thailand will put forward a proposal to develop five casino complexes across the country.
The main goal is to create a new revenue stream for the country, as well as generate more jobs and boost its tourism industry, media reports say.
As expected, Greater Bangkok will get one of the casinos, with the remaining four to be built across the other regions of the country. The specific locations indicated in the plan were Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai (North), Phang-nga or Krabi (South), Pattaya City (East), and Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Kaen, or Udon Thani (Northeast).
The committee is keen on submitting the proposal to the national government, according to media reports. Pichet Chuamuangphan, who serves as the second vice-chairman of the committee, said the country’s gambling laws would need to be amended to pave the way for casino legalization and officials will work on that within this year, with a proposal expected to be handed over to the House in November.
The proposal recommends that the government impose a 30% tax on each of the casinos, though it remains unclear whether it would be levied on gross gaming revenue (GGR), as is the case in most regulated markets. The government could also introduce a different taxation regime for the industry.
The legalization will come with tough restrictions – those aged below 20 will not be permitted to enter any of the casinos, and the same applies to government officials unless they’re granted special permission to go inside the establishments.
Under the proposal, the casino complexes will be developed through partnerships with investment firms in the private sector. The committee is also proposing a gaming concession system for each casino.
Apart from bringing in more revenue for the government, the proposal would also help stamp out illegal gambling in the country, according to Pichet.
Thailand is one of only three ASEAN countries (the other two being Indonesia and Brunei) without legal casinos. Previous attempts to push for legalization met with little success, but there are renewed hopes things could turn out differently this time around considering that some top officials are now open to the idea of allowing casino gaming in the country.