These Thai casinos would generate jobs, draw tourists from abroad, and boost national revenue
A committee of the Thai National Assembly looking at the issue of casino resorts for that nation has suggested it could be viable to have five new casinos, spread across the country, as localised drivers of economic development. The five locations mentioned were: Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai in the north; Pattaya City in the east; either Phuket, Phang-nga or Krabi in the south; either Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani or Khon Kaen in the northeast; and Greater Bangkok, representing the country’s capital.
Along with Indonesia and Brunei, Thailand is one of only three ASEAN countries without legal casinos, despite the fact that up to half of its adult population is thought to engage in illegal gambling. Early in December, a committee of the National Assembly was established to study the topic of building casino complexes in Thailand.
After its meeting yesterday (Wednesday), Pichet Chuamuangphan, the second vice-chairman of a parliamentary committee studying the legalisation of entertainment complexes, said that they had submitted their results to the government for them to take into consideration the establishment of legal casinos.
According to reports published on Thursday on a number of media sites and citing senior members of the House of Representatives committee, including Pichet Chuamuangphan, it is hoped that such a concept can be presented to the federal administration. Mr. Pichet stated that such legalisation would take the form of an amendment to Thailand’s Gambling Act, with a proposal to that effect being brought to the House by November.
The primary goals, would be to generate jobs, draw tourists from abroad, and boost national revenue and only individuals who were at least 20 years old and in “excellent financial status,” as described in reports, are to be permitted entry. Government representatives would need a special permit in order to access.
According to Mr. Pichet, the group aims to recommend that the government offers a concession for each of these facilities, with private sector investment being allowed. He went on to further state that the government would expect to receive “30 percent” in taxes from each entertainment complex under the plan.
The reports state that there would be a 30% tax on casinos’ gross gaming revenues (GGR), although it was unclear if this would apply to all such firms or whether there may be some alternative structure to the taxing burden. The House committee thinks the idea will help deter unlawful gambling and other criminal activity.
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