Thailand

The Thailand committee studying the potential to legalize gambling has proposed allowing five casinos around the country and will also permit online gambling.

According to local media reports, Pichet Chuamuangphan, the second vice-chairman of the committee, the proposals will be put forward to the government in a month’s time. 

The casinos would be in the north, northeastern, central and southern regions of Thailand as well as the Greater Bangkok area.

The committee has proposed a tax rate of 30 percent. 

Thailand is seeking to boost its tourism revenue, which has been hit hard by Covid, as well as stamp out rampant illegal gambling. The jurisdiction is seen as one of the most promising in Asia, with the potential to rival Macau.

Some estimates have put the market potential at about $30 billion, split roughly 50/50 between Thais and tourists. 

Past attempts to push through legislation have been unsuccessful, with draft laws getting bogged down in parliament and opposed by conservative segments of society. However, observers say there is a greater chance this time around as the military government, which has opposed legalization in the past, was the one to put forward the idea this time around. The new king is also believed not to be opposed to gambling.

The proposals stipulate that locals must be 20 years old or over to enter a casino and must prove their financial status. 

The committee has studied various casino market models around the region, including Malaysia and Singapore.