Thai Parliament To Discuss Proposals to Legalize Casino Gambling
- Thai Parliament will discuss a proposal to legalize casinos in the country
- The proposal was submitted by an ad-hoc committee from the House of Representatives
- It will allow the operations of “entertainment complexes” which will include casinos
Thailand is moving forward with plans for casino legalization in 2023 with the Thai parliament reportedly commencing discussions on a proposal to introduce casino resorts in the Southeast Asian country.
Casino Legalization Up for Discussion at National Assembly
According to initial reports by local media, the proposal could be presented to the parliament this week or next week. It was confirmed by Boonlue Prasertsopar, vice-chairman of an ad-hoc committee that tabled the proposal.
The committee recommends allowing the operations of entertainment complexes, which include real money casinos, at certain locations throughout the country. If the proposal successfully obtains approval from Thailand’s National Assembly, it will then be reviewed by the Thai government.
Casinos are currently illegal in Thailand, with gambling only permitted at racecourses and via the country’s official State Lottery. In 2021, an ad-hoc committee comprised of members from the House of Representatives was set up to look into the prospect of gambling expansion in the country.
In July 2022, the committee came up with a proposal to legalize casino gambling in a bid to attract foreign tourists and revive the country’s economy which was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gaming Area, Taxation High on the Agenda
Among the key areas of the report which will be high on the agenda during parliamentary discussions is the size of the gaming area. Under the proposal, the gaming area must not occupy more than 5 percent of the entertainment complex.
The complexes will be managed as “special administrative zones” and will be built via joint public-private investments. Apart from casinos, the complexes must also include hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, amusement parks, and other non-gaming facilities.
Legislators will also examine the tax framework, with the ad-hoc committee proposing a 30% tax on casino revenue, though it remains unclear whether that rate would apply to gross gaming revenue (GGR).
Casinos will be open to both local and foreign customers and age restrictions will be implemented. Thai nationals below 21 years old will be prohibited from entering the gaming venues. Additionally, only those with at least US$15,000 in their bank accounts will be permitted to gamble.
The committee recommended that five casino resorts could be developed across the country, one in each of Thailand’s five regions, including the country’s capital Bangkok. Majority of the people in Thailand support casino resorts, according to a poll.