Parliament study a blueprint for legalising casinos minus controls: NGO


An NGO has slammed the Thai Parliament’s study on entertainment complexes as a blueprint for legalising casinos that ignores damage to society from legalised gambling.

Thanakorn Khomkris, secretary-general of the Stop Gambling Foundation, said that about 95% of the report focuses on how to legalise and collect revenues from casinos, while only 5% is devoted to other entertainment-complex businesses such as hotels, theme parks, sports arenas, and shopping malls.

“This shows that the study aims to highlight the pros of legalising casinos in Thailand, while many important topics have been omitted, such as prevention of money laundering and other criminal activities, and the impact of legalised gambling on society,” he said on Thursday.

The Parliament subcommittee on entertainment complexes has launched the study eight months ago and the results were recently made public.

Thanakorn then proposed three improvements to the report before the subcommittee submits it for Parliament’s consideration:

1. The focus of the report should be equally distributed between casinos and other entertainment-complex businesses.

2. It should include measures to prevent money laundering and criminal activities from legalising casinos in Thailand.

3. It should also feature measures to prevent and mitigate the impacts of legalised gambling on society, especially among children and families.

He said that without these details, the report should be considered incomplete, and Parliament should not approve it.

“The subcommittee members must ask themselves who are they serving: businesspeople who aim to open casinos in Thailand or the Thai people,” he said.