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Mixed Reactions to Thailand’s Proposed Casino Complexes

Mixed Reactions to Thailand's Proposed Casino Complexes

On June 10th, 2024, Mr. Wichian Kaeosombat, Assistant Director of the Center for Economic and Business Forecasting at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, presented the potential economic impact of opening casino-centric entertainment complexes in Thailand.

The proposed complexes, part of a government initiative, will feature casinos, shopping malls, five-star hotels, diverse dining options, convention centers, amusement parks, and other advanced facilities. By 2033, these complexes are planned for Khlong Toei Pier in Bangkok, Bang Kachao in Samut Prakan, Rayong near Pattaya, Chiang Mai, and Phuket.

Wichian outlined several positive economic outcomes, including attracting foreign investments, boosting tourism revenue, creating jobs, and increasing government earnings through taxes and fees. These complexes are designed to become significant economic drivers.

However, there are notable concerns. Wichian warned of potential increases in underground economic activities, household debt, income inequality, and the social costs associated with gambling addiction. To mitigate these issues, he recommended strict regulations, rehabilitation programs for gambling addicts, and allocating revenues towards social and economic development initiatives.

An opinion survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce revealed mixed reactions. 41.6% of respondents disagreed with the proposal, with 19.3% slightly agreeing and 16.4% strongly against it. When asked if they would use the entertainment complexes, 51.3% were strongly against visiting, 22.4% were unsure, and only 10.6% were definitely interested.

On an international scale, 46.7% of respondents felt the establishment would not affect Thailand’s image, 42.6% thought it would tarnish the image, and 10.7% believed it would improve the country’s image. Preferred locations for the complexes included Phuket (40.9%), Khlong Toei Pier in Bangkok (17.3%), and the EEC in Rayong or near Pattaya (16.6%).

Credit: AseanNow

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