A committee studying the feasibility of bringing an integrated resort to Thailand is scheduled to submit its findings to the country’s House of Representatives next month.
The so-called extraordinary committee studying the matter is made up of 60 members — 15 cabinet members and 45 from various political parties. An unidentified member of the committee tells The Bangkok Post the study will be submitted in May.
The committee led by Deputy Transport Minister Atirat Ratanasate was set up late last year after Chutchawan Kong-u-dom, leader of the Thai Local Power Party, pushed for the relaxation of long-standing laws to get such a project off the ground and thus attract foreign visitors and make additional revenue for the government,” reports the Post.
It’s widely believed that if Thai policymakers approve a gaming venue, it will be located in the capitol city of Bangkok.
Las Vegas Sands Could Be Paying Attention
In addition to Bangkok being the likely home to the first Thai casino, the other widespread though yet to be confirmed nugget is that Las Vegas Sands is in talks to procure that license.
Last month, Sands CEO Rob Goldstein said the company is in discussion with politicians in an unidentified “major” Asian country. Some analysts believe the nation the LVS boss is referencing is Thailand.
“This is not the first time Thailand has been talked about as a gaming opportunity. The market potential could be substantial; however, as with all gaming legalizations, the devil is in the details,” said Bernstein analysts.
Neither LVS nor Thai officials have confirmed the two sides are in talks with each other. Sands currently operates six integrated resorts, all of which are in Asia — five in Macau and Marina Bay Sands (MBS) in Singapore. Interestingly, the Sands holding company that control MBS was rumored to be in talks with Thailand in 2015.
Last year, policymakers there indicated casino gaming could be inching closer to reality. To that end, several committees were created to explore issues, including tax collection, where an integrated resort will be located, attracting investment, operations, and impact on local communities.
The Post confirms the extraordinary committee studied tax collection from regulated casinos as well as how to deal with the country’s illicit gaming venues and online gaming. It’s not clear if Thailand will allow iGaming, but it’s unlikely because that endeavor is frowned upon throughout Asia.
It’s also likely any regulated gaming property will be a quasi-foreigners only venue. Recent reports suggest that locals won’t be barred from the casino-resort, but they could be subject to an entry fee and be required to supply multiple financial documents while foreigners will just need to show a passport to gain admission.
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