GGRAsia – Thai assembly committee recommends legalizing casinos
Thai assembly committee recommends legalizing casinos
A parliamentary committee exploring the introduction of casino resorts in Thailand submitted a report to the National Assembly on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg. The document would recommend that the government issue an executive order authorizing the creation of “entertainment complexes” including legal casinos in a number of locations across the country.
The proposal comes as Thailand seeks to revive its tourism industry, as a way to boost economic recovery following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The outlet quoted Pichet Chuamuangphan, a Pheu Thai party lawmaker, who serves as vice chairman of the committee, as saying, “We are focusing on attracting foreigners to boost tourism and get more money out of their pockets.” .
He would have added: “It will also stem the outflow of money from Thai players and help the government collect heavy taxes for our economic security.”
Pichet said at least 400 billion baht ($10.9 billion) in additional tax revenue would be collected each year once more gambling sites were up and running. The proposal stipulates a minimum tax of 30% on the income of casino operators, Bloomberg added.
The proposal also suggests that Thai nationals who are at least 20 years old and have a minimum of THB 500,000 in bank accounts would be allowed to gamble.
According to the outlet, the panel’s recommendations are based on Thailand’s Gambling Act of 1935, which prohibits most types of betting but contains a provision that gives the government the power to issue decrees or licenses that give the green light for certain activities and play areas.
Thai lawmakers will deliberate on whether to act on the committee’s recommendations, a process that could be concluded before the parliamentary recess in September, Pichet said.
In June, the committee suggested that it might be viable to have five casinos spread across the country, as localized engines of economic development.
The panel said earlier this month that just over 80% of the 3,296 respondents, supported the introduction casino resorts. The most popular location mentioned was for a resort in the Greater Bangkok area, with the second most popular site less than 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the capital’s Don Mueang Airport. The third ranked location was border areas of Thailand which have permanent immigration checkpoints.
A number of commentators interviewed by GGRAsia indicated that public support was vital for the plan to have a chance of success.