By Thai Newsroom Reporters
LAWMAKERS ATTACHED TO pro-government splinter parties today (May 18) filed legislation to amend the Gambling Act to legalize online gaming, casinos and underground lotteries once and for all.
Spearheaded by Thai Local Power Party leader/MP Chatchawal Kong-udom, the 20 proponents of the amendment to the Gambling Act of 1935 have agreed that the tax and licence fees for businesses of the online gaming, underground lottery and casinos will certainly amount to immense sums in state revenue yearly only if they are made legal.
Chatchawal has been alleged to have earlier run casinos in Taopoon area of Bangkok in sheer defiance of the law which has not as yet allowed gamblings. Police raids on Chatchawal’s gambling dens had been conducted several times over the past years without arrest of the suspected casino runner having ever been reported.
The online gaming businesses are calculated to raise as much as 1.5 trillion baht yearly whilst the casinos could probably circulate a range of 400 billion to 600 billion baht yearly and the underground lotteries are believed to have some 150 billion baht circulating yearly, according to Thai Local Power MP Kowit Phuang-ngam.
In addition to the proposed amendment to the Gambling Act are results of a study on casino and entertainment complex projects already conducted by an extraordinary House committee which will likely be scheduled for House floor debate within the upcoming parliamentary session beginning on May 23.
Meanwhile, the extraordinary House committee, chaired by Deputy Transport Minister Athirat Ratanaset, has considered a few tourist destinations as suitable venues for casinos such as Phuket and Pattaya whilst a relatively less frequented Petchaburi, north of Hua Hin, has been recommended as well.
Only one casino might be proposed to legally open in each of the four regions throughout the country with the exact venue for it being concurrently considered a tourist spot to attract as many foreign visitors among all casino-goers as possible.
Both the amendment proponents and members of the extraordinary House committee have agreed that only adolescents of legal age will be allowed to get in a casino anywhere after they have produced their ID cards.
The proponents of the amendment bill maintained that all casino-goers should be legally required to manifest the amount of money currently available for them to spend at the time of their visit.
The pro-amendment MPs reassured that many people, specifically adolescents, nationwide may occupy themselves with online gaming, either administered within the country or without, with immense sums of money at stake daily whilst others may visit casinos overseas, carrying a lot of money to gamble, thus prompting them to push for passage of the bill to make it legal and generate an enormous state revenue in tax and fees.
They said most of the anticipated revenue from those legal gambling businesses could be funnelled toward government measures to reduce the country’s public debt, currently amounting to some 9.8 trillion baht.
Top: Las Vegas, The Fremont Street Experience. Photo: Zan Ready (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Home Page: TA poster of Kenny Rogers and his famous song “The Gambler.” Photo: Andrew Malone (CC BY 2.0)