Saturday, May 18, 2024

Asia Minute: Thailand bets casino gambling will boost international tourism

Must read

One of Southeast Asia’s largest economies is considering a new path to growth.

Thailand may be ready to bet on casino gambling. The idea has been discussed before, but in recent weeks it has been gaining momentum.

Late last week, Thailand’s House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to approve gambling in resort-style complexes.

The Prime Minister has been outspoken in his support saying the move will increase government tax revenues, create jobs, and boost one of the country’s biggest economic sectors: international tourism.

Most gambling in Thailand is illegal, with the exception of horse races and a national lottery that dates back 150 years.

Casinos are legal in several countries in Southeast Asia, including Thailand’s neighbors Cambodia and Myanmar — where gambling complexes have popped up in border areas, not only attracting Thai nationals but also Chinese visitors.

Government regulation of casinos goes back to the 1970s in the Philippines, and casino gambling has been legal in Singapore for nearly 20 years.

In Singapore, gambling has turned into a draw for some international visitors — including those coming from China.

The Chinese tourist market is already a primary target for Thai authorities.

They hope to draw visitors away from the former Portuguese colony of Macau, which is still the only place where Chinese citizens can legally gamble in their own country.

Latest article