The month of May 2022 will see a committee of Thailand’s cabinet members and politicians submit to the country’s House of Representatives a study on the feasibility of bringing casinos and casino resorts to Thailand. It is thought that the first resort would be in Bangkok, although the committee is discussing opening more in other tourist destinations.
There have been rumours that Las Vegas Sands is already in talks with Thai officials to procure a casino license, following last month’s comment from Sands CEO Rob Goldstein that the company is in discussion with politicians in an unidentified ‘major’ Asian country. Las Vegas Sands currently operates six integrated resorts in Asia, with five in Macau and one at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
Gambling is currently illegal in Thailand, with exceptions that include a bi-monthly lottery and some horse racing betting. Regular police raids on gamblers and underground gambling dens are common in the country. Thailand’s immediate neighbour, Cambodia, has around 125 casinos with at least half of these located in the resort of Sihanoukville. The city is now seen as a ‘mini-Macau’ and the seafront is now filled with casinos, mostly operated by Chinese consortiums. The Thai government must now decide if this is what they want for their own resort towns and cities.
The committee conducting the study is made up of 60 members, 15 from the country’s cabinet and 45 representing various political parties. The study will examine tax collection, resort locations, inward investment, operations and the impact on local communities. It is thought that recommendations will include strict entry rules for Thai nationals, with customers being required to show identity cards, employment details, income and financial status and bank details.