Thailand Casino Proposal Attracts Strong Social OppositionJune 26, 2015 6:20 am
Over the past week, there has been a push to see casinos legalized in Thailand with its chief proponents being a group of influential political and business persons calling themselves the National Reform Council (NRC) Patriots, as well as another group headed by a prominent politician. Even Thailand’s finance minister Sommai Phasee and police chief General Somyot Poompanmoung have lent their support to the controversial drive to have a casino industry set up inside the country, describing it as a potentially important means of contributing much needed funds to the national economy. Commenting on the situation, Pol Lt-Colonel Santhana Prayoonrat explained:
“The casino issue is a win-win situation for both groups, as it will be lucrative for them if the proposal goes ahead, or the government could face a downfall if the proposal is dropped.”
According to their proposals, casinos would mostly be set up in key tourist destinations, whilst measures would be put in place to ensure the country’s poor didn’t succumb to the temptations of gambling, such as charging high entry fees for those people wishing to enter such venues.
Despite their initial enthusiasm, however, these advocate groups have recently been stunned by the strong social backlash against their proposal. Nevertheless, the negative response should not have come as too much of a surprise considering casinos are viewed as sinful in Thai society, and a recent Bangkok University poll conducted throughout Thailand using a sample size of 1,093 people revealed 58.5% of citizens were against legalizing casinos. On the other hand, 35.1% of people said they approved of the idea, while 6.4% said they had no comment on the matter.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha (photo) has now weighed in on the debate, and said: “I can tell you that no casino will materialize today. The government has not made any decision on it. The legalization of casinos will take time. Studies and research must be conducted first.”