Gambling is a sensitive topic in Thailand. Casinos were banned under the Gambling Act in 1935. Under this law, the Thai National Lottery and Horse Race Betting are the only forms of legal gambling. Despite this, it is reported that most adults do participate in some form of gambling which isn't legal, on a regular basis. Some reports suggest as much as 70% of the adult population enjoy illegal gambling in the country. The idea of launching at least one major casino gambling centre – to be called an "entertainment complex" was proposed several times without success.
The National Reform Council proposal
Last month, 12 members of The National Reform Council calling themselves "patriots" tabled a new proposal to allow casinos to open in Thailand. They felt that the creation of jobs, along with extra revenue streams into the country would be beneficial, especially considering some forms of gambling were already legal in the country.Support for this idea was quickly voiced by prominent men such as Chief General Somyot Poompanmoung, who is Chief of Police, and Finance Minister Sommai Phasee. Crucially though, the Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha has rejected the possibility, at least for now.
Las Vegas Sands shows interest
Support for the proposal has not diminished. Sands again expressed its interest for Thailand with a declaration just a few days ago from Marina Bay Vice President for communications Krist Boo “We have been searching for new investment not only in Thailand but also all places. Although Thailand has no casino act yet, if this [is] about to happen, it is very interesting,” . After Singapore and Macau, the group is looking for new investment opportunities in Asia. Thailand is not alone on the list with Japan, Korea and Vietnam also under consideration
Sands Group after Singapore Thailand?
Despite the possible benefits of an extra 400-500 billion Baht for their economy each year, there are other voices of concern aside from the prime minister. A significant part of the public opinion see the expansion of gambling as a danger to society, even within a society that already has a strong undercurrent of gambling. An online survey is planned to gauge public opinion on the possible opening of a legal casino in the country. Royal Thai police chief Pol. Gen. Somyot Poompanmoung, who is organizing the pool, said a website would be opened on Sept 1, outlining the pros and cons of legal casinos. It's well known that Poompanmoung is advocating for a change of the Gambling Act and results of this initiave are already questionned. Country prime minister decleared that the government of Thailand “have no stance” on the issue.
The Thailand casino question is still open….