Thailand Looking To Legalize Gambling To Attract Tourists

Brittney Griner received a 9 year sentence from a Russian court for drug possession and smuggling. You don’t carry drugs across international borders, that is just dumb. And if that sentence seems unreasonable (I agree) we should look at the sentences the U.S. imposes for similar things.

Thailand, at least, has decriminalized pot. They’ve come a long way since the Claire Danes, Kate Beckinsale, Bill Pullman film Brokedown Palace (1999) where two friends tell their parents they’re going to Hawaii, but go to Thailand instead, and are detained at the airport for drug possession.

Now, in an effort to lure back tourists, Thailand is even considering legalizing gambling as part of resort complexes.

A recommendation received by the Thai parliament last month sought that the government allow “entertainment complexes,” including legal casinos, to be built in key cities across the country.

…A panel of Thai lawmakers have now called for amending Thailand’s Gambling Act of 1935, which prohibits most types of betting, but has a provision that allows the government to issue decrees or licences for certain gaming activities and venues.

Projects could be located in Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai; Pattaya; Phuket; Phang-nga or Krabi; Ubon Ratchathani; Udon Thani or Khon Kaen; and the Bangkok area.

Singapore has some gambling. At the Marina Bay Sands you’ll need to bring your passport, because you need to be a foreigner to avoid a fine. Singapore also has Resorts World Sentosa. Vietnam and South Korea have gambling for foreigners only, and those projects are reportedly money losers. Macau of course has been a mecca of gambling drawing on tourists from mainland China.

On your next trip to Thailand, if some have their way, you could smoke pot, gamble, and pay a bar fine all in a single visit. Funny, all I want to do when I go there is eat great street food.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Underground casinos are very common in Thailand. Only winners there are the police running their rackets. Or can make the drive to Cambodia.

  2. Thailand could also just legalize pot and offer pot tourism. It’s not like Amsterdam wants these people anymore.

  3. Singaporeans can gamble but they have to pay a hefty entry fee. Basically high rollers only.

  4. @Kalboz – Apologies, so you did. I suppose that’s what happens when I try to read my phone and answer my wife at the same time.

  5. Thailand is opening the floodgates to ten year residence visas with a low 17% tax rate on income for high income remote workers, high net worth individuals and high-income retirees.

    Competitive taxation policy is good for attracting foreign high-skilled, footloose labor and the wealthy, but it’s not as advantageous when the person is categorized as a US person for US tax purposes regardless of domicile.

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