Thailand parliament’s lower house is currently showing serious intentions to introduce laws that aim to legalize gambling operations in licensed casinos. In December of 2021, 310 Ministers of Parliament (MPs) voted in favor of creating a 60-man committee that would look into the advantages and disadvantages of allowing casino gambling in Thailand. This new development has the support of both the ruling and opposition parties, as it has become clear that it will take longer before the country’s tourism industry can recover.
Legalizing casino gambling is now eliciting serious attention from Thailand’s lawmakers as a means to revive an industry that has dwindled by 6.1% in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Recovery in 2021 has been stunted by the emergence of coronavirus variants that triggered a second and a third wave, which prevented the tourism industry from showing a better recovery performance.
The country’s tourism industry grew by just 1.2% in 2021, considering that it makes up 20% of Thai gross domestic product (GDP). The current projections of the state planning agency is that 5.5 million tourists will be arriving in 2022. However, the figure is way below the pre-pandemic number of 40 million tourists in 2019.
Other Reasons for Legalizing Casino Gambling in Thailand
Offering gambling venues to Thai gamblers is more beneficial also because the gambling prohibition is only driving avid gamblers to seek casino entertainment in other countries. Except fot predominantly Muslim countries, many of Thailand’s Asian neighbors permit hotels and resorts to offer casino entertainment to tourists, and in some cases, to locals. Japan is the latest Asian country to have allowed the building of three new vacation destination hotel and resort integrated with different entertainment features that include casinos
Will Online Casinos be Considered in the Ex-Com Studies?
There is no mention of whether the planned Executive Committee will include a study of online gambling. In reality, a substantial portion of Thailand’s gambling population place wagers in online เว็บ พนัน ออนไลน์, usually sports betting websites.
A 2020 survey conducted by the Centre for Gambling Studies in Thailand revealed that about 3.5 million Thai gamblers confirmed placing wagers on outcomes of sporting events, by way of remotely operated sports betting sites. If this is not taken into consideration, this denotes that the government will still be losing important gambling revenues. Sports betting has been prevalent in Thailand even before the COVID-19 outbreak.
Yet when sporting events were cancelled during the pandemic, Thai gamblers turned to online casino gambling instead. Since then, many of Thailand’s adult gambling population found this type of gambling entertainment more convenient, more manageable and a lot safer than going to illegal gambling dens; or to the border casinos of neighboring countries.
Yet while legalizing gambling in casinos and on online betting sites would reduce the amount of revenues lost to other countries, haphazard laws and regulations will increase the risks posed by gambling addiction.