Shortly before Mr. Pumpunmuang’s retirement in September, he will call a press conference to announce his proposal to legalise casinos in Thailand, in the hope that it will happen.
Part of his plan is to open a new website to gather public opinions on this rather controversial issue. If there is enough positive feedback it could be worth to propose a national referendum on the matter, where every adult gets the chance to vote for the legalisation of casinos or not.
The Police Chief spoke about Switzerland as an example of a nation that has long opposed legalising casinos, but now you can find successful casinos in the heart of Switzerland.
He went on to say that Thailand has many more favourable locations for casinos to be developed than other South East Asian countries. Thailand already is a top tourist destination with its good food, beautiful attractions, entertainment venues, hotels & resorts and world class shopping.
One major concern is gambling related crime and how to control this. The Chief of Police proses that all people entering a casino would be photographed and checked against a database of known gamblers and criminals. Also, only people with healthy bank accounts and very good finances would be allowed to enter. Another idea would be only to allow gamblers from other regions to enter a casino. For example a casino in Pattaya could be entered by someone from Bangkok, but not admit locals, a casino in Chiang Mai would only be open to customers from the south. Mr. Pumpunmuang said that this plan would help to create a wide distribution of wealth, which would include raising funds for education and health care from tax revenue.
The Chief of Police also stated that he is not worried about being criticised for his opinions. He is in an enviable position where he can speak his mind on this controversial matter as he is retiring in September. If the proposals fall flat and don’t gain public favour it is of no consequence to him.
To conclude the Police Chief added some very wise words. “Gambling caused a lot of problems for police. Many officers have been transferred because they profit from allowing casinos to operate illegally in their areas of jurisdiction”
“We can’t deny the fact that Thai people hold to a culture of gambling”
“Legalised casinos would help spur the country’s economy. Every year a large number of Thai people travel to casinos in other countries, draining money out of the country,” Pol Gen Somyot said.
“People should not cite Buddhism as a reason for opposing legalising of casinos. Even without legalised casinos, illegal gambling is already rampant, he said.”