As the fight against illegal gambling continues in Thailand, some suggest opening legal casino in Pattaya or Hat Yai - The Pattaya News

Saturday 23rd January 2021

Two prominent Pattaya businessmen have shared their thoughts earlier this week regarding the idea of legal casinos being opened in Thailand, ideally in Pattaya and Hat Yai, as previously unofficially proposed/mentioned by Thai senator Wanchai Sonsiri online this week.

According to Wanchai's statement, a proposal of opening legal casinos in Thailand would help diminish the illegal gambling issue that has been a chronic problem in the country for decades. He also suggested having one or two casinos in tourist destinations such as Pattaya or Hat Yai.

Local prominent businessman Sinchai Watthanasartsathon, however, disagreed with the idea, reasoning that the new outbreak of the Covid-19 in Thailand was not caused by any illegal casino, but rather the failure of the fundamental structure of the Thai government.

He stated: "Thailand has tried to legalize gray businesses before, such as online lotteries, which people have been watching for a long time. However, nothing has been in action for more than 10 years now. These things are not yet practical because many in Thai society, especially conservative and religious individuals and organizations, are highly opposed to any form of legalization."

Sinchai further suggested that if a casino was to be legally opened, it should be opened in rural areas in order to generate local income and distribute money to the local people in a certain area, but not Pattaya. He felt that putting a casino in Pattaya would bring more potential problems and a further negative reputation for the city. Pattaya has, according to Sinchai, been trying to fix its perceived negative reputation for many years, and adding casinos to the nightlife and entertainment would likely cause more problems than it was worth.

Ekasit Ngampichet, President of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association, said that the appearance and perception towards casinos have been changed globally, as commonly seen in Macau, Malaysia, and Singapore. He believed that Thailand could eventually own its first legalized casino if the government is able to compare and contrast all the pros and cons before establishing one.

The president told reporters: "Pattaya is suitable for building one as a city of entertainment. In terms of accommodation, the city provides plenty of rooms in several big hotels for local and foreign guests who are interested to visit for gambling at a legal casino."

"If having a legal casino means generating more domestic income, creating more employment, and spurring Thai economy as a whole, then legalizing it could be a possible idea. However, the government should conduct public hearings and study the feasibility of Pattaya people to see how much they are willing to welcome such a new idea to their hometown," he concluded.

The Pattaya News notes that there is no official proposal to legalize gambling the statements by the Senator were merely thoughts/statements.

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