Las Vegas Sands said Thursday that Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd, Singapore is interested in running a casino and convention complex in Thailand. Asiaone quotes Krist Boo, vice president for communications as saying, “We want to invest in Thailand if we are given permission. It must be the [same] kind of integrated resort as in Singapore,”
She added, “We have been searching for new investment not only in Thailand but also all places. Although Thailand has no casino act yet, if this [is] about to happen, it is very interesting.”
The comments were made to Thai journalists visiting the company’s Marina Bay Sands integrated resort in Singapore. In the past it has been widely reported that Sands executives have approached the Thai government about setting up shop there but have been turned down.
There can be no substantive move to develop a casino resort in Thailand without a change in the country’s laws. Currently the only legal gambling allowed in the country are two Royal turf and sports clubs that allow betting on horse races, and the official lottery, personally chaired by Prime Minister, General Prayut Chan-ocha. General Prayut Chan-ocha is a retired Thai army officer and head of the National Council for Peace and Order. He has been in office since a coup d’état on May 22, 2014. In August 2014, a military-dominated national legislature, whose members were handpicked by Prayut, elected him as the new prime minister.
A group of 12 National Reform Council members, whose primary goal is to draft a new constitution for the country, have suggested that casinos be allowed in the country as a way to increase tourism and the economy, but the council’s chairman, Thienchay Kiranandana says the plan is not under consideration. Police chief General Somyot Poompanmoung came out in favor of the idea but the PM shot it down and instructed him to stop promoting the idea, according to an article in the Bangkok Post several days ago.
Las Vegas Sands Corp has also expressed interest in opening a casino in Vietnam, but conditioned the interest on a change of law there that would allow citizens to gamble. In their 2014, 4th quarter earnings call, Chairman and CEO, Sheldon Adelson said, “We remain focused on potential development opportunities in Japan, Korea and Vietnam. We believe our unique convention-based Integrated Resort development model could bring meaningful benefits to these countries in terms of business and leisure tourism, employment and economic growth.”