Thailand moves towards legalised casinos as feasibility study is initiated

Lea Hogg 1 month ago
Thailand moves towards legalised casinos as feasibility study is initiated

Thailand’s government has taken a significant step towards the legalization of casinos within integrated resorts, with the cabinet endorsing a report from a special House committee that recommends this course of action. The Ministry of Finance has been tasked with conducting a feasibility study over the next 30 days to further explore this possibility.

This development, reported by the Bangkok Post, comes less than a fortnight after the House of Representatives nearly unanimously approved the study, indicating strong legislative support for the move. However, government spokesperson Kenika Ounjit has clarified that public hearings would be necessary before any final decision could be made on the legalization of casinos.

Public support for casino legislation

Ounjit also highlighted that integrated casino resorts are a crucial component of the government’s proposed “fun economy”. This concept encompasses tourism, sports, entertainment venues, and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions) businesses, and is seen as a key driver of economic growth.

The cabinet’s endorsement includes a suggestion for joint investments between the government and private operators, potentially following a concession model similar to that used in Macau. It also recommends that any integrated resorts be situated near international airports to cater to overseas visitors.

For this plan to come to fruition, a new casino law would need to be enacted, and a specific government organization would need to be established to oversee responsible gambling.

According to a recent note from Maybank, Thailand could see its first integrated resorts as early as 2029. If this timeline holds, Thailand would realize legal casino gaming ahead of Japan, where MGM Resorts International’s $10 billion integrated resort development in Osaka is not expected to be completed until at least 2030.

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