The National Reform Council (NRC) Chairman, Thienchay Kiranandana, has announced that the proposal surrounding the legalisation of casinos in Thailand has not come from the agency and is not a part of their reform plans.

He said that the proposal that has been widely reported, is only a personal idea and has not been officially submitted to the NRC.

“Calls to legalise casinos are not among the reform proposals we have put up,” he said.

It appears a small minority group of 12 NRC members have been discussing and planning to propose that Pattaya be selected for the first casino resort development in Thailand. Mr. Thienchay Kiranandana, it appears, does not share the same way of thinking as the 12. They propose that the income from legalising casinos would boost the economy, both locally in Pattaya and nationally. The monies raised could help the poor and help pay for further development projects.

Maj Anan Vacharothai, a group representative, said that legalising domestic casinos in Thailand will help stop money flowing out of the country into neighbouring countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam and soon Myanmar.

Another member of the pro-casino group, Kriengkrai Phumlaojaeng, is collecting data on these casinos in order to measure their economic and social impact. Former Democrat MP Watchara Phetthong, however, is very much against the proposal. He stated that NRC members should come up with ideas to solve Thailand’s economic problems rather than supporting wicked activities. He also said that legalising gambling runs against the 12 core Thai values promoted by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

To further his feelings of strong opposition Mr Watchara said that Maj Anan, who is a former Pheu Thai MP, is seeking to implement Thaksin Shinawatra’s dream plan of open legal casinos in The Kingdom.

The question of legalising casinos comes up every few years or so in Thailand, but this time could plans be approved? There will always be those that want and those that don’t want legitimised gambling in The Kingdom. Whilst it is true that casinos developed in a city such as Pattaya would be a huge boost to the local and national economy, there are many concerns too. To introduce legalised casinos into Thailand is a massive cultural shift, the proposal has been met with much opposition. Ultimately, following in depth studies, will the decision made be one of economics or is it too much of a cultural shift to be acceptable?

To conclude, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha currently remains neutral regarding the proposal and has stated that all the pros and cons should be discussed by people around Thailand.


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