In the south-east Asian nation of Myanmar, draft legislation has reportedly been submitted to the 440-seat House of Representatives that would legalize the operation of a limited number of foreigner-only casinos.
Measure would establish a framework:
According to a Wednesday report from The Myanmar Times newspaper, the proposed Gambling Bill 2018 would amend the nation’s existing all-out ban on casinos by establishing a framework that would then be improved via the later adoption of detailed rules and bylaws.
Long known as Burma until a controversial name change in 1989, Myanmar is a nation of some 51 million inhabitants sandwiched between India, Thailand and China. But, gambling opportunities are rare for the vast majority of citizens in these neighboring nations and it is hoped that the introduction of casinos would allow the ‘Land of the Golden Pagodas’ to attract more foreign tourists and associated tax revenues.
The Myanmar Times reported that the proposed legislation also seeks to draw more foreign cash into Myanmar as the past five years have seen the value of the local kyat currency plummet by almost 100% when compared with the United States dollar.
Border casinos envisioned:
House of Representatives Bill Committee Secretary, Kyaw Soe Lin, told the newspaper that the successful passage of the new legislation would likely result in casinos being opened along Myanmar’s border with China and Thailand. However, the official declared that such facilities would be strictly out of bounds for locals and be prohibited from being located in tourist hotspots such as the ancient city of Bagan.
Mingaladon Township Representative Aung Hlaing Win to The Myanmar Times…
“Once the [bicameral legislature] approves the amended bill, casinos will be allowed to open in Myanmar. Only foreigners will be allowed into the casinos. As such, the government will target areas with the most foreigners such as near the border. The passing of the Gambling Bill 2018 will enable a whole new sector to flourish and draw much needed taxes and foreign currency into the country.
Comparison drawn with Macau:
The newspaper reported that Win went on to point out that the budget surplus for Macau, which is the only Chinese territory where casino gambling is legal, is five times higher than Myanmar’s total national deficit. He detailed that the new legislation will hope to lessen this predicted $3.23 billion shortfall by establishing a means that would allow the government to collect taxes from operators and winning players.