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Yes or No to Casino in Myanmar

In December, five out of 13 regional and state chief ministers asked Henry Van Thio, Vice President to give green light to allow casino operations in hotels. According to Yan Win, Chairman of Myanmar Tourism Federation, who was presented at meeting, Ministers from Mandalay, Tanintharyi, Shan, Kayin and Mon are showing their support to open casino in Myanmar during a meeting with Vice President Henry Van Thio who also serves as the chairperson of a government committee responsible for developing Myanmar’s tourism industry.

The main purpose to allow casino operations in hotels will attract high-end foreign tourists, to generate the revenue for their regions’ development and boost the whole country development and job creations.

Casino gambling is prohibited in Myanmar under the country’s 1986 Gambling Law. But there are several hotel casinos in the country’s border areas (for example – in Tanintharyi and Shan State) that the government passively allows them to operate. A casino near the Thai border in Myawady has stirred public debate since it was reported that the revenue it generates has been directed toward local development projects. According to Chairman of Myanmar Tourism Federation, Yan Win expressed optimism that the opening of casinos in Myanmar would “happen later on” even if the vice president had yet to respond to the request of the ministers. He said the country was lagging behind its ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) peers in terms of casino investments due to the country’s strict gambling law.

He added “The Ministry of Home Affairs is trying to amend some laws. If they make changes in the current gambling law, casinos can be allowed to operate legally. Currently, this issue is still under discussion,”