In the southern Asian nation of Myanmar, the chief ministers for the states of Mon, Kayin and Shan have reportedly joined with their counterparts from the large administrative divisions of Tanintharyi and Mandalay in order to ask the central government for permission to operate small casinos inside local hotels.
According to a report from GGRAsia citing a story in The Myanmar Times newspaper, the regional officials made their request to Vice-President Henry Van Thio in the city of Naypyidaw last month in hopes that the casinos could help to boost international tourism and aid their areas’ under-developed economies.
Long known as Burma until a controversial name change in 1989, Myanmar was reportedly ruled for almost 50 years by a military dictatorship before a quasi-civilian government was finally elected in 2010. However, the nation’s 51 million inhabitants remain some of the poorest in Asia and the recently-elected administration of President Htin Kyaw is purportedly eager to improve their lot by attracting foreign capital via tourism from neighboring nations such as China, Thailand and India.
Although casinos are currently illegal throughout Myanmar thanks to legislation passed in 1986, GGRAsia reported that an unnamed firm based in Singapore almost inked a deal in May of 2015 that would have brought a $1.2 billion integrated casino resort to an island in the nation’s Mergui Archipelago. There are also purportedly a large number of underground gambling establishments operating in the northern states of Shan and Kachin, which border the Chinese province of Yunnan.