Date: 05.04.2024

by Kajetan Sawicz

Thailand Eyes 2029 for Opening of Its First Legal Casino Resort

Thailand could see its first legal casino resort open doors by 2029, a development anticipated to reshape the Southeast Asian gaming and tourism landscape. This projection comes from Maybank Investment Bank, following a House of Representatives’ approval of a study into the legalization of casino gambling in the country.

The Eastern Economic Corridor is touted as the most probable location for up to eight integrated casino resorts, aligning with Thailand’s broader economic development strategies.

Strategic Locations and Economic Boost

The proposed integrated resorts are not just about gaming; they’re envisioned as comprehensive entertainment complexes that could significantly elevate Thailand’s appeal as a global tourist destination. According to Maybank IB analyst Samuel Yin Shao, the Prime Minister-led committee will evaluate license bidders, with potential locations spanning from the Eastern Economic Corridor to tourist hotspots in the south, north, and northeast.

The integration of these resorts within key economic corridors, coupled with ongoing infrastructure enhancements, aims to fortify Thailand’s tourism sector, attracting a broader visitor demographic.

Timeline and Investment Phases

The journey towards opening Thailand’s first casino resort involves a meticulous regulatory and construction phase, spanning approximately five years from the approval of bids. This timeline positions Thailand to potentially launch its casino industry concurrently with significant developments in the region, including MGM Resorts International’s Osaka project.

The licensing framework proposes a phased approach, prioritizing substantial investments for the initial licenses, with a minimum capital expenditure requirement set at THB100 billion (US$2.7 billion).

Potential Economic Windfall

The legalization of casino gaming within these integrated resorts is projected to catalyze a remarkable surge in tourism revenue, potentially adding $12 billion to the sector. This initiative could also elevate the average tourist expenditure significantly, enhancing Thailand’s economic vitality through diversified entertainment offerings.

The ripple effects of Thailand’s entry into the legal casino market could extend beyond its borders, impacting regional gaming hubs in Singapore and Cambodia, where a significant portion of gross gaming revenue is attributed to international visitors.

Our Comment on the Article

Thailand’s potential foray into the legal casino market by 2029 represents a strategic pivot towards leveraging integrated resorts as catalysts for economic and tourism growth. This ambitious vision aligns with global trends in the gaming industry, where integrated resorts serve as multifaceted entertainment complexes that offer more than just casino gaming. As Thailand lays the groundwork for this significant transformation, the implications for the regional gaming landscape and Thailand’s tourism sector are profound. The successful realization of this vision could redefine Southeast Asia’s entertainment and leisure offerings, marking a new chapter in Thailand’s economic development narrative.