Thai PM Pushes Ministry to Finish Casino Study

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin of Thailand is pressing Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat to complete a study on legal casinos, with a possible goal of getting an industry up and running before 2030.

Thai PM Pushes Ministry to Finish Casino Study

Thailand’s Ministry of Finance is under orders to wrap up a feasibility study on integrated resorts (IRs) in the country. The study, recommended by a majority of House members in March, was initially due in May.

According to the Bangkok Post, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin wants Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat to finish the study and also draft legislation and regulations.

Thailand has an ambitious plan: to open its first legal IRs (entertainment complexes with casinos) before 2030, when MGM Osaka is expected to open in Japan.

Government representative Chai Wacharonke said taxes from the new industry could amount to at least TBH12 billion (US$328 million) in the first year alone, though lawmakers may restrict gaming areas to 5 percent of total resort space. The rest would be dedicated to hotels, dining, entertainment and other non-gaming attractions.

In April, the Thai cabinet recommended that IRs be joint investments between the government and private operators, similar to Macau’s concession-based model. As Inside Asian Gaming reports, it also suggested IRs be located near airports for ease of travel by international tourists.

A total of 17 government agencies are reviewing the House committee report, but asked for an extension due to the complexity of the proposal.