House panel set to ask govt to open legal casinos in five regions
A House of Representatives committee considering the opening of legal entertainment complexes plans to ask the government to open legal casinos in five regions.
“The move aims to increase state income from casino tax and to combat illegal casinos and gambling houses,” Phichet Cheumuangphan, vice president of the committee and Pheu Thai member of parliament for Chiang Rai, said on Wednesday.
“After about a year of studying the possibility and locations, we narrowed down the areas to these suitable locations:
- North: Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai
- East: Pattaya City
- South: Phuket, Phang-nga or Krabi
- Northeast: Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani or Khon Kaen
- Greater Bangkok.
In the trial phase there will be only five legal casinos nationwide, which will feature both traditional and international gambling, as well as gambling via online channels, Phichet said.
Private partners will be allowed to invest in the business, with the government collecting 30 per cent of casino tax, on top of land maintenance tax from the establishments.
“Only persons over 20 years old will be allowed to enter these casinos, and they have to present their financial status before playing,” he said.
“Government officials are not allowed to enter these establishments, except for those with permission.”
The committee has been studying legal casinos in Singapore and Malaysia and has adjusted the format of operations to suit Thailand.
“The establishment of legal casinos will come under an amendment of the Gambling Act to allow the establishment of state-run casinos. The committee will present the draft to the House of Representatives by November,” Phichet added.