Will Thailand’s New Parliamentary Agenda of Legalizing Casinos Work Well for Tourism

While Thailand was among the firsts to open its doors to tourists, the ploy was not as successful as global travel bans continued to cripple tourism industries. Still, there was optimism in immediately reviving the country’s tourism sector as a group of Chinese from Guangzhou flew directly to the resort island of Phuket. The visitors were granted with special tourist visas issued by the government.

Actually, parliament ministers are now contemplating enhancing the country’s tourist attractions with integrated resort casinos. While its Chinese neighbors have shown unwavering interests in visiting Thailand’s beautiful coastal destinations, ancient structures and annual festivals, many in the tourism sector believe that integrating casino venues in popular resorts will attract more Chinese visitors.


The Casino Legalization Agenda Seems to Have Strong Support

There have been previous proposals to legalize casinos before but it seems the present circumstances and supporters of the movement would make a difference.

Unlike King Bhumibol Adulyadej who strongly opposed gambling during his rule, his son and successor King Maha Vajiralongkor has shown keen interest in seeing casinos integrated in prominent Thai resorts. Even Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who used to be averse to the idea of legalizing casino gambling is now keeping an open mind about the matter. PM Prayut now recognizes the reality that many Thai gamblers engage in betting activities in illegal dens, which during the pandemic had been identified as one of the super spreader venues.

Deputy PM General Prawit Wongsuwan noted that even if there is no casino in Thailand, the absence has not prevented Thai citizens from seeking gambling venues elsewhere, whether in or outside of Thailand.

Many local gamblers believe that เว็บพนันออนไลน์ ถูกกฎหมาย, (online gambling sites are legal) because there are licensed online casinos and sports betting sites that offer their products and services via the Internet.

Asset Analysts Have Doubts about the Profitability of Such Investments

A sector that voiced opposition to the idea of building billions of dollars worth of integrated resorts, are asset analysts. They have reservations about the profitability of brick and mortar casinos in Thailand.

Although reports have it that a renowned consultancy firm conducted a feasibility study that recommended the establishment of two or three integrated resorts in Thailand, the study was made and completed in 2019, before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, the country was receiving 40 million tourists, of which about 13 million were Chinese nationals. The projection was that the number of Chinese visitors would go up. That is if other Chinese travellers can dabble in high-end casino entertainment, instead of being led to some dingy, back alley gambling den.

At present, a much smaller 5.5 million tourists is expected to visit the country in 2022. The figure is higher by 500K than the actual number of tourists who visited in 2019.

At that time, many in Thailand have not yet experienced the convenience of playing in the more advanced online casinos that can be accessed by way of VPN. The latter stands for Virtual Private Networks, which are servers that encrypt messages sent via the public internet system.

While it is true that Thailand’s gambling market is big because as many as 57% of the country’s 70 million adult population are into some form of gambling. Many doubt that the corollary gambling revenues that Chinese tourists will bring into casinos will be enough to give capitalists a fair return on investment within a reasonable period of time.