Thailand residents in favor of legalizing casino gambling
According to a recent poll conducted in Thailand, around 80% of the respondents support the idea of legalizing casinos in the Southeast Asian country.
The Casino Committee of Thailand carried out the cross-country survey. The committee was tasked to probe and analyze the possibility of legalizing casinos in the country and went about it by conducting a poll to determine the response of the public. About 3,296 respondents gave an affirmative response when asked about the possibility of allowing integrated resorts and casinos in Thailand.
The committee’s spokesman, Jakkapon Tangsuttitham, presented the summarized results, including extra questions to the respondents. Some of these questions included asking the respondents what other kinds of facilities they would prefer to see in a resort besides casinos.
In response, almost 64% of them fought for the inclusion of a shopping mall, while 40% expressed interest in a spa. Around 37% of respondents expressed no interest in any other facility at the venue than a casino, while 39% asked for the inclusion of a bank or other financial institution.
The survey also acknowledged that Bangkok was the preferred area to develop an integrated resort, with 57% indicating interest in the capital. Another location mentioned was the Don Mueang airport in the capital and the border areas.
Besides thoughts on the possible location, the poll also mentioned one of the biggest concerns of the people in the survey. This mainly involved the possible measures that would be needed to put a halt to illegal gambling and its effects.
Around 55% of the respondents voiced their concerns that the legalization of gambling would serve to bring in new crime opportunities, and 53% revealed apprehension over a possible rise in the percentage of people in debt. A faction of the survey also questioned the economic benefits of casinos to the country.
The committee is scheduled to present the results of the survey to the president of the Thailand National Assembly on July 27. This will signal the country’s first step in starting discussions concerning the possible legalization and development of a market for gambling in the country.
Prior to the survey announcement, the Casino Committee of Thailand presented a proposal that claimed that it was possible to develop five casino resorts across the country. The resorts would be in Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai, Pattaya City, and either Phuket, Phang-nga, or Krabi. Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, and Khon Kaen were also mentioned, as well as Greater Bangkok.
They also proposed a tax fee of 30% and mentioned that the only people allowed in to gamble would be at least 20 years old. The proposal further revealed that entry into the hall would only be granted if the person could prove that they had a stable financial situation.
Thailand is currently the only non-Muslim country in the 10 member states of the Southeast Asian Nations association without a legalized gambling industry. Other countries without a legal gambling sector are Indonesia and Brunei, both of which are primarily Muslim countries.
Research revealed that due to its current illegal state, around 50% of the adults in Thailand gamble via unlawful means. The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society disclosed that gamblers in the country were currently spending at least $32 million on various online gambling sites per annum despite the country’s best efforts to block it. Reports claimed that if gambling was made legal in Thailand, it could be valued at $30 billion when dispersed between tourists and the residents of the country.