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Las Vegas Sands eyes on Thailand

Las Vegas Sands CEO Rob Goldstein has once again confirmed the company’s interest in Thailand, responding to inquiries from investment bank analysts regarding the company’s 1Q24 results.

Rob Goldstein, CEO, Las Vegas Sands
Las Vegas Sands CEO Rob Goldstein

He notes that opening a casino in Thailand could happen quicker than in Japan. Some analysts point out that the first casino in Thailand could open in 2029, ahead of MGM Osaka in Japan, scheduled to open in 2030.

“I think it’s conceivable. It’s early days, though we still have work to do with the numbers and understanding it,” Goldstein remarked.

“It’s a very, very exciting market on many levels, given the sheer size of the population, accessibility, and the willingness of people to travel to Thailand. It’s obviously, I think, the number one resort destination city in Asia,” he added.

In June last year, Bloomberg, citing sources, reported that gaming operators MGM Resorts International and Galaxy Entertainment Group are studying the potential of opening a casino in Thailand.

Additionally, the investment bank headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Maybank, said that Genting Singapore may bid for the Thai land casino license.

The Thai government’s proposal to tax gross gaming revenue (GGR) at a relatively low rate (17 percent), combined with plans for extensive industry development, signals a welcoming environment for investors.

According to preliminary plans, the Thai government aims to issue between 5 to 8 casino licenses. Locations in key economic zones, including the Eastern Economic Corridor and popular tourist destinations like Phuket and Chiang Mai, are prime candidates for Entertainment Complex (EC) establishments, according to studies released by Maybank.

According to the most recent update, the Thai Cabinet designated the Finance Ministry as the primary agency responsible for reviewing a report prepared by the House committee regarding the potential for establishing entertainment complexes with casinos in the country.

The Thai Ministry of Finance, in collaboration with 16 other agencies, is reviewing the report and presenting its recommendations to the Cabinet within 30 days. This means that further updates could be released in mid-May this year.

In addition, according to a study submitted to the Thai parliament, legalizing casinos within entertainment complexes in Thailand has the potential to boost tourism revenue by approximately $12 billion, with an expected increase in average tourist expenditure by 52 percent to THB 65,050 ($1,790) per trip.

Casino biz can lift tourist spending by 52% in Thailand: study
Thai Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat

Meanwhile, Thai Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat, who leads the House committee, expressed that these complexes would contribute to job creation, enhance tourism, and mitigate illegal gambling. He anticipated an annual revenue of THB 40 billion ($1.1 billion) to THB 50 billion ($1.4 billion) from these complexes.

Viviana Chan
Viviana Chan
Viviana Chan is an editor, interpreter, and journalist. With over a decade of experience, she writes in English, Chinese, and Portuguese. Viviana started her career in Macau-based newspapers, where she became passionate about the region's social, financial, and cultural development. Her writing focuses on the economy, emerging industries, gaming development, political affairs, and cross cultural-exchange in the business and cultural domains. She is avid for news and eager to discover and cover stories that generate public relevance.