Thailand Moves Closer to Approving Casino Resorts, Boosting Tourism Sector

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In an auspicious turn of events for the gaming industry, Thailand inches closer to the green light for casino resorts, following a promising vote in the country’s House of Representatives on Thursday. The proposed legislation, favoring entertainment complexes inclusive of gaming venues, was robustly supported; out of a 257-member presence in the House, 253 legislators cast their votes in favor.

If the palpable enthusiasm encapsulated in the vote is any indicator, the first ever integrated resort and gaming venue in the history of Thailand could make its grand opening even before the famed MGM Resorts International’s property in Osaka, Japan, scheduled for initiation in 2030, according to deputy finance minister, Julapun Amornvivat.

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Reflecting optimistically on the budding potential, Maybank Investment Bank opined, “Assuming two years to finalize a regulatory framework and three years for construction, the first entertainment center (in Thailand) may open its doors in 2029.”

Should the national cabinet give the nod for entertainment complexes, Thailand could see the rise of up to eight such venues, with the commencement and allotment of gaming licenses rolling out in successive phases.

Thailand’s irresistible allure as a sought-after tourist destination in Southeast Asia holds promise for potential biddings from the gaming industry’s big league. With a burgeoning popularity among tourists from China and the West, the Thai arena could attract an unprecedented influx of players if it continues to exhibit efficiency in the legalization and regulatory process, a path Japan failed to tread, leading to its own undoing.

Industry insiders assert that Thailand’s gaming framework is likely to parallel Singapore’s strategy rather than emulate Macau’s. The prospect of low gaming tax rates also adds allure to international operators. Maybank analysts predict, “Proposed gaming tax rates are low at 17 percent, and social safeguards in the manner of Singapore will be proposed.”

In light of these details, Thailand’s decision to go forth with a 17% tax rate on gross gaming revenue would position it second to only Cambodia for having the lowest casino taxes in the region. Coupled with speculated 20-year license terms and renewable terms every five years, this tax framework could win the favor of potential operators.

The government’s potential requirement of hefty investments to the tune of $2.5 billion to $3 billion could still be comfortably manageable for any number of interested operators.

Initial entertainment complexes are slated to be positioned in 13 chosen areas across the eastern, northern, northeastern, and southern parts of the country, according to Maybank. Guided by the prime minister, a committee will assess and evaluate submitted casino bids.

Thailand’s move toward hosting world-class entertainment complexes tricked out with casinos could supercharge the nation’s tourism sector, boosting its income by a stellar 52% annually. The projection of such a prominent rise is anticipated to lure in sizeable bids from the crème de la crème of the global gaming industry. This promising venture stands to transform, not only the country’s entertainment landscape but also its tourism industry’s bottom line.