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Thai government considers relaxing historic casino restriction

Thai government considers relaxing historic casino restriction

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The possibility of legalised casinos in Thailand has moved a big step closer, with the Government Gazette confirming a decision to establish a 60-member committee to consider plans for a number of locations.

Casino gaming has long been a controversial issue in Thailand, but many in the business community see their legalisation as an ideal opportunity to further enhance the tourist industry and breathe much-needed life into a depleted post-pandemic economy.

Being a predominantly Buddhist nation, respect for religious and societal concerns has always prevented progress of previous casino proposals but developments in neighbouring Cambodia, coupled with the current struggles in Macau, suggest it may now be time for change.

The 60-member committee, chaired by Deputy Transport Minister Atirat Ratanasate, has until the end of April to submit a cost-benefit analysis of the impact of casinos on the Thai economy, job market and reputation.

Cities selected as potential locations for the new casinos include Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the north, Udon Thani and Ubon Ratchathani in the north-east and Pattaya and Chonburi in the east.