Thailand House of Reps Forms Casino Committee

Posted on: October 30, 2023, 12:17h. 

Last updated on: October 30, 2023, 02:07h.

Just before the conclusion of its current session, Thailand’s House of Representatives voted to form a new 60-member committee that will study the issue of casino gaming in the Southeast Asian country.

Thailand casino
The Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. A new committee was formed to study allowing casinos in the country. (Image: Tumblr)

The newly formed committee differs from a previous iteration tasked with studying the possibility of paving the way for integrated resorts in the country. The new parliamentary group is broader in scope, as it will examine avenues for boosting Thailand’s economy, including the possibility of entertainment and regulated gaming venues, as well as cracking down on illicit casinos.

The Pheu Thai Party’s Srettha Thavisin is the country’s newest prime minister, and members of that party voted in favor of the committee, as did members of several other political factions. The committee has 90 days to complete its job.

It’s been 10 months since the “Ad-hoc Committee on the Consideration of the Opening of Entertainment Complex, the Collection of Revenue and Taxes from the Legal Casino, the Prevention and the Solution of Illegal Gambling, the Widespread of Electric Gambling Machines, and the Online Gambling” submitted a report on the possibility of bringing casinos to Thailand.

How Thailand’s Casino Industry Could Take Shape

While Thailand lacks the gaming infrastructure seen in other nations in the Asia-Pacific region, including Macau, the Philippines, Singapore, and South Korea, the country is showing signs it’s increasingly open to the idea of integrated resorts.

In 2021, lawmakers indicated casino gaming could be inching closer to reality. To that end, several committees were created to explore issues, including tax collection, where an integrated resort will be located, attracting investment, operations, and impact on local communities.

United Thai Nation Party MP Chatchawal Kong-udom, long a proponent of regulated gaming venues in the country, said he’d like to see five entertainment districts, which could include casino resorts, strategically scattered across the country, reports The Bangkok Post.

While Japan is considered the “next big thing” on the Asia-Pacific gaming landscape, Thailand itself is highly desirable for global gaming operators because it’s one of the most visited countries in the region by international tourists. Policymakers there could also be motivated to consider regulated casinos as avenues for boosting government revenue, as well as keeping Thai bettors who often flock to other gaming markets in the region at home.

Thailand Casinos Could Draw Big-Name Operators

It’s not yet clear if Thai lawmakers will approve casinos and establish the necessary framework to make those venues realities. Still, if that happens, it’s likely to draw some of the gaming industry’s biggest names to the country.

Las Vegas Sands has already indicated that it could be interested in constructing an integrated resort there, and it’s believed Galaxy Entertainment and MGM Resorts International feel the same way. All three are established in the region.

The same applies to Genting, Melco Resorts & Entertainment, and Wynn Resorts, though those companies haven’t publicly said they’re evaluating Thailand.