Thailand casino committee to deliver verdict this week
The Thai government committee tasked with evaluating the feasibleness of legalizing casinos in the country will present its findings before the end of the week. The prospect of legalized gambling in Thailand significantly increased after a government committee identified Bangkok as the location for the nation’s first casino.
The committee created a 60-representative board in June after the country revealed they would back around five integrated resorts (IR) for the entire process. According to the committee, the move would lower the number of illicit gaming establishments in the country. The committee comprises 15 Thai cabinet representatives, and the different political parties supply the remaining 45 members.
According to reports, the committee’s findings have already been approved and given the go-ahead for the next potential development stage. During their research, the committee conducted 24 meetings and pored through the possible implications and results if Thailand were to legalize casinos.
The House Speaker, Chuan Leekpai, will reportedly receive the group’s recommendation this week after the final draft of the proposal is approved. The committee produced a scheme enabling depressed locations that provide strategic entry for international travel to receive some development in their economic sectors.
The committee’s plan also lays out operator and investment requirements for the gaming industry and their tax obligations. It also gave a detailed breakdown of how gambling could affect society adversely and the mitigation policies to be initiated if that occurred.
They shed light on the future casino locations and foreign and local investment partners’ probable impact on biodiversity. Provision was also made to cater to instances of potential money laundering and ensure there would be responsible gambling.
Over the last few months, the Thailand committee has produced periodic updates concerning their research, but they are yet to give any news about its final report. The decision was left to the House to make known whatever aspect of the information it thought needed awareness.
Having the House review the bill is not the last phase. Thailand’s parliament is still mandated to give the project the go-ahead before it can begin.
The Thai government is currently facing some internal issues involving Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha that could possibly disrupt the IR efforts. The president was recently the recipient of an opposition attack.
A request for a vote of no confidence was also issued and held on Saturday, but Prayuth emerged the victor, as on previous occasions. The 68-year-old came into power in 2014 due to a coup and has remained in power since then. While his most recent victory was only by a margin, it will enable him to remain in power until March next year, when his tenure ends.
The country will reportedly have minor disturbances until the end of Prayuth’s tenure so the government can proceed with its various projects with little disruption. All the processes for the proposal could be finished within a year if the IR project is approved by the House and given to the Parliament in due time.
Another essential requirement for the proposal to kick off is the availability of investors to pay for the construction of the resorts, the cost of which will undoubtedly be considerable.
Thailand could possibly compete with areas like Japan and Macau. Both locations will need substantial capital to get their various casino markets going. Japan estimated the total cost of casino resorts to be around $10 billion to $12 billion. While already intimidating, the amount could be even harder to acquire due to how global supply chains, as well as tourism and travel, are stilted because of the pandemic.
Regardless, Thailand may have the upper hand because some gambling operators may have already indicated an interest in the country’s gambling sector. In June, Bernstein revealed that the Las Vegas Sands could possibly enter the new integrated resort space in the country. At the moment, neither the move’s legislative grounds nor the intent of the company has been verified.