Gambling: Las Vegas Seen as Model

The global spread of American culture is often seen as a form of cultural imperialism. But there are many cases where a nation will actively import American culture or use it as a model. Thailand is considering legalizing casino operations and eventually building a Las Vegas-like entertainment complex. And like most instances of cultural borrowing, the end product will likely be a unique Thai version rather than a 'pure' American transplant. – YaleGlobal

Gambling: Las Vegas Seen as Model

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Thailand could have its own version of Las Vegas within the next three years, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said yesterday.

Thaksin said when casino operations were legalised, investors would be encouraged to run casinos in entertainment complexes, similar to those in Las Vegas.

However, the premier said, the government will consult with the public before making a decision to legalise casinos, which could be passed by Parliament in the next three or four years.

"Now we are assessing whether investors are interested in putting money into such entertainment complexes. It requires a considerable sum, involving billions of baht," said Thaksin.

The government will not issue casino licences for gambling dens in a rented hotel room or a shop house, he added.

Asked if casinos could be a channel for money-laundering, Thaksin said a monitoring scheme would be designed to prevent |that.

Defence Minister Thamarak Isarangura said that he would support casinos if legalisation had well-designed regulatory measures, "because 90 per cent of gamblers in casinos in neighbouring countries are Thais".

Studies show that the majority of Thais like to gamble, Thamarak said, and stressed that casino legalisation was different to gambling legalisation.

At the same time, Interior Minister Wan Muhamad |Noor Matha warned Thais not |to flock to gamble in casinos in |the Cambodian border town of Poipet.

"At this time we should be more thrifty," the minister said.

However, no law forbids Thai citizens to cross the border to gamble in Cambodian casinos, he conceded.

(c) Nation Multimedia Group

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