RGB Int’l Makes Play for Myanmar

In May, the government of Myanmar is expected to OK a bill that would bring foreigners-only casinos to the country. RGB International Bhd is angling to be among the first equipment manufacturers in the market.

Next month, the parliament of Myanmar may once again open the country to legal casinos. If and when it happens, gaming equipment maker RGB International Bhd wants to be first to market with its products.

“We are studying the market now, as we have already received enquiries from potential casino operators in Myanmar,” RGB Managing Director Chuah Kim Seah, told the Malaysian Star.

Chuah added that the group is aiming to install 1,770 new gaming machines across Asia this year, including 1,300 in the Philippines and 280 in Cambodia.

Currently in Myanmar, unregulated illegal operations are generating all the gaming revenues; they are mostly clustered along the border with Thailand, which also does not allow casino gaming. In 2017, the country’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to allow foreigners-only casinos to operate in selected hotels, particularly those located on resort islands.

Next month the government’s 2018 Gambling Law will replace the existing 1986 legislation. The new law, which includes recommendations from President U Win Myint, permits casinos that operate with hotels and are open to foreign nationals only.

According to Asia Gaming Brief, the industry is expected to attract more tourists. Some figures indicate that only 270,000 tourists visit the country annually due to political unrest and rebel uprisings.

Two legitimate casinos currently operate at island resorts Tha Htay Island and Yadana Island, near Kawthaung in the far south of Myanmar, which were set up under a pilot scheme by the military junta in the 1990s.