Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Myanmar Lawmakers Submit Casino Legalization Bill

Casino News Daily
Myanmar Lawmakers Submit Casino Legalization Bill

The Myanmar Public Affairs Management Committee submitted on Tuesday a bill calling for the legalization of casinos as the country is struggling to find sources of additional revenue to close a massive budget gap and is looking to boost its tourism industry.

The piece of legislation, which includes amendments to Myanmar’s existing Gambling Act from 1986, was tabled for review by Pyithu Hluttaw, the lower chamber of the nation’s legislature. If the bill survives all legislative hurdles, it would allow for the establishment of foreigner-only casinos across the country. Casino gambling is currently prohibited on the territory of Myanmar.

Local legislator U Aung Hlaing Win told news outlet The Myanmar Times that the proposed legislative piece would provide for the speedy legalization of casino gambling in the country as they have no time to craft a whole new gambling act and that the proposed amendments to the existing law would be sufficient for the creation of a casino industry.

As mentioned above, if legalized, the gambling venues would only admit foreigners. Myanmar nationals would thus not be able to gamble at the facilities. The casinos will be constructed in areas near the country’s borders so that foreign patrons would be able to reach them more easily. The country is aiming to attract visitors and players mostly from neighboring Thailand and China.

Anticipated Benefits

Myanmar lawmakers anticipate several important benefits from the potential legalization of casino gambling in the country. In the first place, new casinos would generate much-needed additional money for the nation’s cash-strapped coffers. Lawmakers hope that license fees and tax revenue would help Myanmar reduce its budget deficit, which is expected to reach MMK4.9 trillion this year.

The Southeast Asian nation has also been looking for ways to boost its tourism industry. Casino gambling is widely popular in the region and the legalization of that activity is expected to attract a particular group of high-spending casino players as well as additional non-gambling tourists. However, lawmakers stressed on the fact that areas around the country with rich cultural heritage will be kept gambling-free, if the Gambling Act takes effect as a law.

It is also important to note that Myanmar legislators hope that the move would result in foreign currency being poured into the country. The nation is currently experiencing a shortage of international currency which drives down the value of the Maynmar kyat.

The legislative piece was submitted to the lower chamber of the legislature on Tuesday. More details on when and how it would be discussed and voted on are to be released. However, given the massive budget deficit the nation has been struggling with and the potential for cash flow casinos could create, the bill might have quite some chance to gain enough traction.

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