Thailand Wants to Expedite Casino Process, but US Operators Might Not Like Regs

According to reports, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin wants the Ministry of Finance and legislators to expedite the country's casino regulatory process so he may authorize gaming establishments. However, some analysts worry that the nation's rules might deter significant US operators.

According to a recent story in The Bangkok Post, five Thai locations seem to be the most likely candidates to house the nation's first casinos. There are two located in Bangkok, the country's capital, and one each in Chiang Mai, Phuket, and the Eastern Economic Corridor.

Among the main motivations behind Thavisin's quest for a casino bill to reach his desk as quickly as possible are his hopes of possibly outpacing Japan in terms of integrated resort development. It is hoped that should casino gambling laws be adopted in Thailand in the near future, work on the first site can start as soon as feasible, possibly opening ahead of MGM Osaka's projected 2030 debut.


Potential Layout of Thailand's Casinos

Over the past few years, there has been a growing amount of conjecture about Thailand becoming a gaming hotspot, along with reports on which gaming businesses would be interested in operating in the country located in Southeast Asia. 

The colossal Las Vegas-based companies Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts International, and Las Vegas Sands are on this list; they are all connected to Asia through Macau. One of Singapore's two integrated resorts is also managed by Sands. Nonetheless, some observers think US operators would find Thailand's gambling laws unwelcoming.

"This market is too early in the process to gauge if Wynn could eventually be involved, but at present, our thinking on Thailand is that the market will not be ready for the US regulated operators to be involved,” said Seaport Research analyst Vitaly Umansky last week.

While the firms themselves have not addressed concerns pertaining to Thailand, several analysts surmise that the nation's regulatory framework is likely more lax than that of the areas where LVS, MGM, and Wynn presently operate.


The Casino Tax Rates in Thailand May Be Alluring

Although there's a potential US-based gaming corporations will be wary of Thailand's casino laws, the nation's anticipated gaming tax plan may be seen as attractive. Experts predict Thailand would choose to impose a gross gaming revenue (GGR) tax at the same 17% rate as Singapore. Thailand would be able to compete with South Korea and Japan with that % as well.

Although the precise number of entertainment centers that will be authorized is unknown, it is certain that those establishments, given the presence of a casino, have the potential to stimulate Thailand's economy. Each entertainment district is anticipated to require a minimum investment of $2.75 billion, a sum that many of the biggest names in worldwide gaming could readily afford.

The number of casinos that Thailand might eventually be allowed to open ranges greatly, from five to eight to twenty, though twenty doesn't seem realistic.