Thai Finance Minister joins casino backers, but with conditions…
The Finance Minister of Thailand, Sommai Phasee, put forward the idea of creating casinos in Thailand as a part of an “entertainment complexes.” Other aspects would include shopping malls and conference facilities for corporate and public use.
He proposes that casinos in Thailand would be better operated as a part of a bigger picture of entertainment and relaxation for visitors and tourists alike. Mr. Phasee also suggests a similar high cover charge as operated in Singapore to prevent poor people from entering the casinos, which would equate to over 5,000 Baht. His proposal is that the casinos are not open to the general public.
The minister strongly disagrees with creating casinos all over Thailand, but in selected areas that could be closely controlled. He also said it is better alternative than Thai’s spend their money in foreign casinos outside of Thailand.
When speaking in a radio interview recently, the Minister denied that he was involved with arranging for executives of the US-based Las Vegas Sands Corp to meet with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
When the Minister was asked about Sands having approached the Thai authorities regarding the proposed construction of a casino at Makkasan rail maintenance depot off Asoke Road in Bangkok he said: “It’s good … as the Finance Ministry is planning to negotiate an exchange of an area in the depot, (which is owned by the debt-ridden State Railway of Thailand).”
The National Reform Council members that originated this latest debate about casinos in Thailand, said that early survey results showed opposition to the idea, but the surveys were carried out amongst a small number of people. The Royal Thai Police Chief General Somyot Poompanmoung said that the number of public responses was too small to consider and a full survey across the Kingdom would give a better picture of what people thought.
The General went on to say that opposition would likely come from the group of Thai owners of over 30 casinos and gambling dens that operate in Thailand’s neighbouring countries. Somyot said he will give a map of these establishments to the Thai media.
As the news hots up 26 high profile Thai and foreign gamblers were arrested on Sunday following a raid by Thor Lor police. There was found to be illegal gambling taking place at a luxury condominium. The Police Chief was asked if police had benefited from the raid, he vowed to deal with them if this is found to be the case.
The Political Development Council chairman Theerapat Serirangsan has requested that Prayut suspend Somyot from his duties as he is supposed to be against vice and gambling, not promote it!
“If I were prime minister, I would have dismissed the police chief,” he said. The development council has offered many reasons against legalising casinos in Thailand, it would be better to promote the Kingdom as a tourist destination without using vices as a major selling point they propose.
The Deputy Prime Minister MR Pridiyathorn Devakula, who is responsible for the government’s economic affairs, said it would be preferable to deal with the casino proposition from a social view point, rather than an economic one.
He went on to speak about how the den operators are the ones that truly benefit leaving behind those that have lost to gambling, ultimately costing careers and hurting families.
Gambling creates far more losers than winners.