Thailand and the casino


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As readers may be aware, gambling is illegal in Thailand, which isn't to say it doesn't go on, but there has been a lot of talk recently about the possibility of Thailand's first legal casino. From the Bangkok Post:

And an old controversy – construction of a legal gambling casino – was revived this week. It was dusted off by the director of the Government Lottery Office, Wanchai Surakul. The director said he would propose to the cabinet a GLO plan to build an entertainment complex, complete with shopping malls, a fun park for children and, of course, a casino in the Thung Kula Ronghai area of the Northeast. He argued it would be a good family holiday destination and bring in a lot of government revenue.

He explained that he preferred Thung Kula Ronghai to established tourist destinations such as Pattaya or Phuket because it should be developed to attract tourists so people there would have additional sources of income. It was a barren area, anyway, he declared, and not well suited to agriculture – and his critics quickly pointed out the area already produces the best Hom Mali rice in Thailand.

PM Yingluck, however, was quick to shoot down the rumours:

The government has no plan at this stage to allow construction of Thailand's first legal casino, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Wednesday.

The prime minister said although the idea of allowing a legal casino to open here was brought to the attention of the government of Thaksin Shinawatra, the situation had now changed.

It was necessary to carefully consider what effects, good or bad, it could cause. Setting up a casino was also not among the government's policies, she said.

There was also some public outcry:

Local farmers, academics and the opposition have joined forces to derail a plan to build a casino in Thung Kula Ronghai, even as Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra played down the proposal.

Readers may remember plans to legalise gambling under the Samak government that of course didn't bear fruit. But then who needs the law when casinos are already being built?!

Rak Thailand Party leader Chuvit Kamolvisit is threatening to disclose information about a large newly built casino in Bangkok.

Construction of the casino which is located about 500 metres from the Meng Jai intersection in Huai Khwang district has already been completed and it is expected to open soon, Mr Chuvit said.

If he decides to spill the beans, he would be following up on his presentation during the Aug 23 government policy debate in parliament of video clips showing a casino in operation in Bangkok's Bang Sue district. That disclosure led to the transfer of three senior Bangkok police officers to inactive posts and city police ordering a crackdown on casinos around the capital, including the one in question, which was shut down.

But the crackdown, Mr Chuvit said, was merely the police dispatching a hundred officers to raid a number of casinos, but in the end they did nothing and arrested nobody.

If the police are serious about cracking down on illegal casinos in the city, he said, they need to send only one officer with him to a casino and he would help film the illegal gambling activities inside himself, he said.

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One thought on “Thailand and the casino

  1. Mr C has balls. Here's hoping they don't get shot off.

    I am in fav of legalisation. Illegality does not stop, merely drives the problem underground where those afflicted cannot be helped.

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