A forward thinking small group on Thailand’s National Reform Council (NRC) is proposing the legalisation of gaming casinos in the Kingdom, according to local media reports. A formal proposal should soon be submitted to the Government, presented by two representatives, was quoted by the Thai newspaper The Nation.

Pattaya has been selected as the logical location for a casino resort, which is a popular beach destination with foreign and Thai visitors and is less than 2 hours south-east of the Capital city, Bangkok. Also, the soon to be commercially developed U-Tapao Airport is even closer.

The NRC was formed after the Thai military take-over in May 2014 and has 250 members. One of the NRC’s main jobs is to oversee the drafting of a new constitution for Thailand, this is due to be implemented this year.

NRC members Arnun Watcharothai and Kriangkrai Phumlaochaeng said on Monday that a plan to legalise casinos was backed by a dozen NRC members, the Nation newspaper added.

Licensing casinos in Pattaya would create a huge boost for the local and national economy. Many locals currently travel to Cambodia and Vietnam in order to visit casinos. Also, it would attract many new tourists to the region, especially the Chinese who love to gamble!

Burma (Myanmar) is also potentially looking to regulate gambling and introduce casinos. A major casino developer from Singapore is said to be close to signing a US$1.2 billion deal to construct a casino resort in Burma, which borders Thailand north to south.

This is also a potential loss of tourist and domestic revenue for Thailand as it will be very attractive for Thai’s and ASEAN community members who like to spin the wheel.

Mr Phumlaochaeng of Thailand’s NRC was quoted suggesting that – if approved – Thailand casino projects should target foreign tourists, while locals would be required to present financial statements before they would be allowed to enter the premises. There are obvious concerns that introducing casinos to Pattaya could increase levels of crime, especially where people who loose big or cannot afford the habit. By checking locals financial statements the casinos will be able to determine if they should let individuals enter or not.

There have been several unsuccessful attempts in the past to legalise casino gambling in Thailand, but it is believed the economic gains would seriously outweigh domestic opposition.

The NRC will present the proposition to legalise casinos in Pattaya if the majority of its members are in agreement. The decision will be put to a vote. The final decision of course will be made by the Cabinet and Thailand’s National Council for Peace and Order.


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