The Bhumjaithai Party, one of the leading political parties in Thailand, has issued an emphatic call for the government to accelerate its plans for legalising casinos. They firmly believe that legitimate, government-regulated casinos could present a viable solution to widespread issues such as illegal gambling dens, unlicensed digital gambling, and associated fraudulent activities.
Bhumjaithai’s representative, Mr Saritpong Kiewkhong, made his views known during a press briefing. He adamantly espouses for legalising casinos as a means to combat the rampant corruption surrounding illicit gambling. Illegal casino operators often grease palms of certain corrupt law enforcement officers and government employees, whilst exploiting loopholes in the existing legislation. By legalising casinos, such nefarious activities would be curtailed and government oversight assured.
In addition to the above points, Mr Saritpong highlighted the economic boons of legalising casinos. Operating lawful casinos could potentially amplify revenue for Thailand from both domestic citizens and foreign tourists. He further elaborated with a potent example from neighbouring country, Singapore. “Our research reveals that Singapore invested in the vicinity of 50-60 billion baht in operating legal casinos and entertainment precincts, leading to an impressive profit tally exceeding 20 billion baht. This monumental move pumped Singapore’s tourism industry by approximately 20%.”
Mr Saritpong urged the government, under the auspices of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, to expedite the legalisation of casinos. Failure to do so could result in missed opportunities for netting additional revenue, and cracks in the veneer of corruption.
It is noteworthy to mention that this year, in January, a special parliamentary committee suggested a feasibility study for the construction of entertainment complexes, including legal casinos, recognising the enormous financial potential. The presumably candid study revealed an expected cost projection of US$8 billion, equivalent to 280 billion baht. Additionally, a completion timeline of five years was proposed with the potential to create 30,000 job opportunities.
The findings reported potential locations for the entertainment complexes, such as the bustling city of Bangkok, the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), or other popular tourist destinations. Alternatively, it proposed proximity within a 100-kilometre radius of an international airport, or in border regions that host permanent immigration checkpoints. Names of potential provinces include Phuket, Phangnga, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Phayao, among others.
The recommendations spanned the inclusion of multiple types of gambling activities, including digital casinos, stock exchange and foreign exchange rate betting, and even wagering on athletic competitions. It’s the rise of a new dawn in Thailand’s battle against corruption and the quest for increased revenues.