In a spirited call for progressive reform, the Bhumjaithai Party is steadfastly advocating for the expedited regulation and legislation of casinos. The party is pitching the casino project as a silver bullet to mitigate the burgeoning issues tied to illicit gambling dens, unauthorized online gambling platforms, and associated fraudulent activities.
During a press briefing, Bhumjaithai Party’s Parliamentarian Saritpong Kiewkhong articulated his impassioned belief that legalizing casinos could eradicate the underlying corruption. Saritpong indicated that a significant number of police officers and government officials have been silently complicit, exploiting legal gaps to receive kickbacks from unlawful casino administrators. The proposal for licensed casinos could then bring both online and terrestrial casinos under stringent government oversight.
Saritpong championed the enhanced financial benefits that would be associated with legalized casinos. He spoke of a potential monetary windfall for Thailand from both domestic and international patrons. He compared the situation with Singapore, stating, “Our research indicates that Singapore has ploughed in between 50-60 billion baht in establishing lawful casinos and leisure complexes, and in return, they rake in over 20 billion baht in profits. Consequently, there has been a surge in Singapore’s tourism business by up to 20%.”
He urged the government headed by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin to put the pedal to the metal in implementing the legalization of casinos. He warned of the potential loss of significant revenues and a missed opportunity to stem the tide of corruption if there continues to be a delay in the plan.
In a parallel development earlier this year, it was proposed by a distinct House committee for a unique study to assess the viability of constructing entertainment complexes, including authorized casinos. Their potential profitability was cited as a key reason for the study.
The conducted study indicated that the construction of such a complex could stand at a price tag of approximately US$8 billion, or 280 billion baht. It was projected that the completion of the project would take five years and would facilitate the employment of 30,000 individuals.
The prospective entertainment complex was suggested to be based in Bangkok, the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), or any of the 22 top tourist sites. Preferably, it would be positioned within a 100-kilometre radius of a global airport or in border provinces endowed with permanent immigration checkpoints. Locations such as Phuket, Phangnga, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Phayao were also proposed as viable options.
The report adviced that eight specific types of gambling activities be sanctioned, including online casinos, stock exchange index wagering, foreign exchange rates betting, and sports events betting.