Thai Government Explores Allowing Casinos to Boost Economy

Thai government considers allowing casinos in entertainment zones to stimulate economy; Ministry of Finance conducts 30-day study to evaluate policy implementation.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Thai Government Explores Allowing Casinos to Boost Economy

Thai Government Explores Allowing Casinos to Boost Economy

The Thai government is considering allowing casinos in entertainment zones as part of a broader effort to stimulate the country's economy. Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat stated that the ratio of gaming to non-gaming activities within these proposed entertainment complexes would depend on input from governmental entities involved in the project.

Why this matters: The Thai government's consideration of allowing casinos in entertainment zones has significant implications for the country's economy and could set a precedent for other countries in the region. If successful, it could also lead to a shift in tourism patterns and revenue streams for Thailand.

In April, the Thai cabinet approved a National Assembly committee report examining the feasibility of casino resorts in the country. The cabinet tasked the Ministry of Finance with a 30-day study period to evaluate the potential implementation of the policy. However, the Ministry of Finance has requested a two-week extension for the study period to collaborate with 16 other government agencies and deliberate on various aspects of the casino resort issue.

The special House committee's study focused on three key areas: the impacts on economic, political, social, environmental, educational, and cultural policies stemming from the presence of such venues in Thailand; the business framework of the integrated entertainment venues and the state's revenue collection; and the legality of such venues, including examining formats, methodologies, core regulations, and criteria governing entertainment venues, establishments, and current gambling laws.

One proposed entertainment complex near U-tapao International Airport in Rayong, Thailand, is valued at US$2.7 billion. Each venue would require a minimum investment of THB100 billion (US$2.75 billion). The government is also considering implementing a specific casino tax with customized rates distinct from the prevailing general tax rates and establishing a fund aimed at mitigating the adverse effects of gambling, with revenue sourced from these venues and gambling enterprises.

Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat, who also serves as the president of the House committee, emphasized the collaborative nature of the study, stating, "We will collaborate with 16 other government agencies to deliberate on various aspects of the casino resort issue." The government's decision to explore allowing casinos in entertainment zones comes as Thailand seeks new avenues to boost its economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Takeaways

  • Thai government considers allowing casinos in entertainment zones to boost economy.
  • Casino resorts would require minimum investment of THB100 billion (US$2.75 billion).
  • Government may implement customized casino tax and fund to mitigate gambling effects.
  • Study period extended to 45 days to collaborate with 16 government agencies.
  • Proposed entertainment complex near U-tapao Airport valued at US$2.7 billion.