Plans have been mooted to build Thailand’s first legal casino at an airport so it can it be used by international travellers.
The proposal came from Bhumjaithai Party MP Chada Thaiseth who said that if a casino was built in Thailand it would be of huge financial benefit for the Thai economy.
But Mr Chada said there was a need for urgency in the project, adding that more than 100 different committees have studied the project but the time had come for Thailand to act on the proposals.
Mr Chada was speaking on Thursday following the appointment of Deputy Transport Minister Atirat Ratanasae as head of an extraordinarily committee set up to study the proposals for Thailand to open its first legal casino.
If approved, the casino and entertainment complex would help to attract foreign visitors and bring in trillions of baht in revenue.
Mr Atirat said the committee would hope to study the proposal in detail within the next 90 days before sending its findings to the government for consideration.
Hua Hin has been put forward as one of the locations for Thailand’s first legal casino.
The ambitious proposals were put forward by prominent local businessman and government advisor Udorn Olsson.
Khun Udorn said that both Thai and foreign investors were ready to invest in such a project, which could bring in an estimated 4 trillion baht in revenue.
The project would enable Hua Hin to rival other destinations in Thailand such as Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai.
The complex would have a casino, motor racing track, theme park, world class hotels and shopping facilities.
Khun Udorn, who is a central figure in the ongoing redevelopment of Hua Hin Airport, said that the airport upgrade points to a bright future for Hua Hin, but further development of Hua Hin would help attract more international travellers and big spenders.
The issue of whether to legalise gambling in Thailand is a controversial one and has been debated at various levels of government for decades.
Apart from the state backed national lottery, gambling in all other forms is illegal in Thailand.
However, that’s not to say gambling doesn’t take place.
Supporters of the legalisation cite the revenue that could potentially be earned through taxation and tourism spending.
Meanwhile, critics of the project, many of which were vocal on the issue on Hua Hin Today’s Facebook page, fear increased traffic and crime, as well as health and social issues related to gambling.