Thailand’s Cabinet Backs Study for Casino Resorts, Eyeing Tourism Boost and Job Creation

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The Kingdom of Thailand could soon be known for more than just its pristine beaches, bustling street markets, and iconic temples, as the country’s Cabinet has offered its support for the study of legislated casino resorts. This move has transferred the responsibility to the Ministry of Finance, demanding a plan of action within the coming thirty days, following their weekly Cabinet meeting.

This direction towards casino legislation was set in motion by a March vote conducted in the Thai House of Representatives. The results resoundingly voiced approval of amusement districts, including casino-based hotels. Out of the 257 participating members, an overwhelming 253 voted in favor of the provisions, establishing the potential for an exciting new era.

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Addresses from Deputy government spokeswoman, Kenika Ounjit, indicate that public involvement is a critical aspect of this new legislation. There will be periods for public comment and active engagement before a final decision is made. In addition to gaming hubs, these entertainment centers could showcase a variety of non-gaming offerings such as live concerts and sports venues, as well as larger spaces for meetings, conferences, exhibitions and incentivized events.

These multi-faceted entertainment districts are a critical cog in Thailand’s ambition to vault tourism, a significant sector of the nation’s economy. As such, the nation has set an ambitious objective to attract at least 80 million international visitors per year by 2027, and fully integrated resorts certainly could play a crucial role.

However, how many entertainment hubs will receive approval remains a question. Nonetheless, the potential for economic growth with the inclusion of a casino component is promising. Every proposed entertainment district is projected to require a minimum investment of $2.75 billion, with an expected yield of immense economic uplift to the nation.

A recent Maybank analyst report suggested that Thai policymakers stand to approve the establishment of up to eight casino resorts. Further, the Chonburi Real Estate Association mentioned that, should the government approve as many as 20 gaming venues, it could result in over 30,000 new jobs and prompt annual economic growth of 4% to 5%.

If the government proceeds with the licensing of integrated resorts that include multiple venues, it will inevitably spark intense competition among industry titans vying for the licenses. Prominent names such as Las Vegas Sands and Genting Singapore have already expressed their interest, while other gaming powerhouses such as Galaxy Entertainment and MGM Resorts International are also believed to be interested.

With a proposed minimum investment of $2.75 billion and a potential tax rate of 17%, the allure of the Thai market is strong for these international companies. The result is anticipated to be a fierce bidding war for these highly coveted Thai gaming licenses.