Myanmar border casinos to face scrutiny

Two casinos operating in Myanmar will soon face scrutiny from the regional government after questions were raised of whether the casinos were legal under the 1899 Burma Gambling Act.

According to regional chief minister Daw Lae Lae Maw, quoted by the Myanmar Times, the Grand Andaman Resort and Victoria Entertainment Resort will be looked at in more detail.

“We don’t know what the previous government allowed them to do, but we are translating all the agreements from English to Myanmar in order to check. It seems that they are only permitted to offer gambling with token coins [used in slot machines],” she said.

Should the regional government find the casinos are operating illegally, the government will impose tighter restrictions in accordance with the gambling act, rather than force them to cease operations, she added.

“I have already met with U Kyaw Lwin, the owner of Grand Andaman Resort, to negotiate. The contract covers small-scale gambling. It does not allow 200 people to travel to the island each day to gamble large sums of money,” she said.

However, Daw Lae Lae Maw insisted that regional government does not want to take the casino owners to court, or to force them out of business. Each casino resort pays K250 million ($210,680) annually in income tax to the Union government.

U Myo Win Than, executive director of Grand Andaman Resort, said the previous administrations had allowed the casinos to operate as long as it boosted tourism.

“The Tanintharyi Region chief minister told us that if our operations were not in line with the 1899 Gambling Act, we should try to follow the rules and laws and help promote tourism in Kawthoung township, because other businesses in the area are not doing well,” he said.

“She never once mentioned that she would shut the casino down. I also think it would be unreasonable to shut the business down straight after it was bought by a local owner.”