Myanmar to open casinos following amendment to gambling law

Casinos may finally be able to operate in Myanmar after amendments are made to the Gambling Law, U Aung Naing Oo, director general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) told The Myanmar Times.

Currently, casinos are banned in Myanmar under the 1986 Gambling Law.

However, amendments are currently being processed by the Ministry of Home Affairs which, once through, will allow casinos to operate in the country, said Aung.

The announcement comes after five regional and state chief ministers in Myanmar were seeb seeking permission from Vice President U Henry Van Thio to operate casinos in hotels in their respective areas.

U Aung Naing Oo added that casino investors have been eyeing the region for around four years now. Casino operators from Macau and East Asia are among those who have expressed interest, he said.

Once amended, the Gambling Law will take precedence over the current Hotel and Tourism Law.

“The Hotel and Tourism Law contains one stipulation which allows casinos to operate together with a hotel,” said U Yan Win, chair of the Myanmar Tourism Federation.

“However, if the Gambling Law is not amended, casinos will not be allowed to operate, even if it is with a hotel,” he said.

However, according to The Myanmar Times, there are already a few casinos operating in the country, including Myeik, Tanintharyi Region, together with two hotels on Tha Htay island and Yadana Island.

These casinos were allowed by former President U Thein Sein, which allowed  casinos for foreigners in restricted areas under the remit of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.