Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej is promoting a proposal to build what he billed as an “entertainment complex” near the Suvarabhumi Airport where it is believed that it would attract more business to eastern Bangkok. Samak talked about the project on his weekly television program and discussed it at a meeting with representatives from the tourism industry in Chiang Mai. Samak has been promoting a casino project since becoming prime minister four months ago.
“In other countries in the region, such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore, they’ve already added a casino as a tourist attraction. For Thailand, we still have nothing similar,” Samak said at the tourism meeting. He since has made public comments that it is time for Thailand to have an entertainment complex that includes a casino, sports arena and convention hall. One Samak representative also referred to the complex as featuring a shopping mall, hotels and recreational activities.
While this news is welcome to the gambling industry, insiders are not getting their hopes up too high. Since coming to office, Samak has been under siege by his opponents in the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD). The party organized protests against Samak and seven members of his cabinet outside of Government House resulting in Samak approving a no-confidence vote. While Samak and his cabinet survived that vote on June 27, it remains to be seen if he can continue to hold up under the political pressures.