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Experts divided over Thailand successfully creating an attractive casino environment

Top experts are divided about the potential for Thailand to successfully move forward with an effective, realistic, and long-lasting casino industry which will be attractive to top international gaming operators.

Daniel Cheng

In the short term, industry analyst Daniel Cheng opines that “legislation could even happen as soon as early next year”. Cheng notes that the current government “would like to see the fruits of pushing this legislation, construction and opening when they are still in government,” however he notes that “that’s a bit of a stretch”.

But even with the best intentions, the volatile political climate could be discouraging to major international gaming operators – with the current integrated resort investment intentions by the government reaching up to $2.7 billion.

“I’m very skeptical that Thailand will have the wherewithal to make this an industry of scale.”

Vitaly Umansky, Senior Research Analyst

Weighing on in the topic was Fredric Gushin, CEO of Spectrum Gaming, who noted that “quid pro quo is whether the investment is safe […] hope doesn’t mean reality”.

Cheng also added a note of caution, noting that “anything can still happen even though it’s looking positive right now”. He notes that, compared to Japan, Thailand has an avid gambling population, “like many Southeast Asians” and that the “fundamentals are actually better than Japan”.

Umansky’s viewpoint is that the government could take things in stages. “Build a Sands Macau, build a StarWorld,” he notes – seeing how the success of the properties led to the multi-billion-dollar IRs that are in the SAR today.

Experts divided over Thailand successfully creating an attractive casino environment
Paul Bromberg, SVP-Investigations, Spectrum Gaming

Paul Bromberg, Senior Vice President, Investigations, Spectrum Gaming, noted that the currently proposed plans envision up to eight entertainment complexes. “That would be a mistake,” he notes. But there has been strong support for welcoming the projects to each region, “everyone has come out to say they want one in their region. That will be an issue for the central government to try to decide what’s best for the country”.

When asked about how many IRs of over $1 billion could be breaking ground in Thailand by 2030, Bromberg – who is also based in Thailand – said “none”.

Cheng expects “two or three”, while Umansky opined “maybe two, but not $3 billion properties”.

Umansky notes “we could see a slew of little casinos, sub-billion, with maybe one or two $1 billion IRs in Bangkok or around there”.

But Bromberg notes that “that’s not what the government wants, that’s not the stated goal as of now”.

“They need to take the time and get this right … it’s probably a once in a generation opportunity.”

Paul Bromberg in regard to Thailand’s IR legislation developments

Daniel Cheng notes that “even if they successfully push through the legislation, they could fail in the execution”.

Bromberg, Cheng, Gushin and Umansky made the comments at a panel on the first day of G2E Asia 2024, in Macau.

Kelsey Wilhelm
Kelsey Wilhelmhttps://agbrief.com
Kelsey Wilhelm is a broadcast, print journalist and editor based in Asia for over 15 years. Focused on content creation, management, cross-cultural exchange and interviews for multi-lingual productions. Writing focus on gaming, business, politics, culture and heritage, events and celebrities, subcultures, music, film, art and fashion. Some of Kelsey's specialties are: editing, writing, copy creation, multi-lingual content production, cross-cultural exchange, content creation and management for Asian markets.

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