Call for legal casinos in the country went down due to strong public criticism

Casinos taxes in Thailand would generate USD 2.8B annually

A study conducted by the dean of Rangsit University’s College of Social Innovation, Sungsidh Piriyarangsan, indicated that legalization of casino gaming in Thailand could bring annual tax revenues of over USD 2.8B to the country.
2016-03-01
Reading time 1:43 min
A study conducted by the dean of Rangsit University’s College of Social Innovation, Sungsidh Piriyarangsan, indicated that legalization of casino gaming in Thailand could bring annual tax revenues of over USD 2.8B to the country.

Piriyarangsan highlighted several key points of the study, aiming to show how Thailand government coffers could benefit from opening a casino market only for tourists. He said that it took three years for the Singaporean government to see annual tax revenue from legal casinos reach the TH$ 100bn threshold, but Thailand should take less time since the country had plenty.

The call for legal casinos in Thailand is not recent, as the idea was raised by previous governments but went down due Cato strong public criticism. The proposal was floated by former national police chief Somyot Poompunmuang last year, but finally lost steam after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha put the brakes on it.

According to the report casinos could be legalized only after winning widespread public support and with the backing of an honest government and operators interested in running the business. In that sense Piriyarangsan said that an increasing number of middle-income earners agree with the concept of legal casinos in Thailand, as well as the Prayut government.

He also remarked that to alleviate the negative impact from gaming, Singapore’s laws governing the business are a good example for Thailand to follow. The Singaporean government permits only those aged 21 or older to enter and place bets at legal casinos.
Adding more reasons for the government to consider this idea, Rangsit University’s College said legal casinos would also boost the number of foreign tourists visiting the country by 10pc, based on the models of Singapore and Macau.

Based on an example of Sa Kaeo province on the Cambodian border, the report says that casinos could also reduce the number of criminal cases in Thailand, by helping to create jobs and boost incomes. At present, Thailand and Brunei are the only two Asian members without legal casinos, while neighbouring countries are home to at least 120 legal gaming venues, mostly in Cambodia and Laos.

In a survey of more than 2,500 locals during May to August last year, most respondents agreed with the idea of a legal casino-resort complex, saying it would boost tourism revenue. But the survey also uncovered concerns about crime fostered by casino culture and violations of religious principles and ethics.

Piriyarangsan suggested if the government decided to legalize casinos, it must use the revenue generated from the business to help society and allow people to examine the source of revenue in a transparent manner.

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