Myanmar can have a new law that will make casinos and gambling venues legal in the country. In May 2018, the much awaited gambling law can be enacted as it is already in the parliament for approval.
Myanmar’s Ministry for Union Government Office and the Ministry of Home Affairs have drafted the new law following a request from the country’s tourism ministry which sought permissions for casinos to operate legally in the country for foreigners.
By legalising foreigner-only casinos, Myanmar is looking at expanding its tourism and also gain from revenues generated by the gambling facilities.
Myanmar citizens will not be allowed to play at the casinos; however, they can do business and also work at Casinos.
Myanmar Times quoted Dr. Myat Nyarna Soe, secretary of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Joint Bill Committee, saying “We can no longer ignore the illegal casinos operating at the border. We need to legalise casinos in the country and set rules and regulations to make operations systematic. The new industry will also help with tax revenues. We managed to draft the regulations and Hluttaw needs to approve it.”
While the new law will take effect in entire country, it is yet unclear if it will be the same for Myanmar’s self-administered regions.
Myanmar Tourism Business Association’s Chair, U Thet Lwin Toe, said, “Now, there are illegal casinos at the border areas. Because they are illegal, there is nothing that’s left for the country and no security either. Crimes can happen. If they are regulated by laws, border tourism will increase.”
“For example, there are casinos in Kokang self-administered zone. They have no restrictions. I think their government gets taxes to some extent as it is being done after obtaining peace between ethnic armed groups and the leaders. As they are self-administered, union laws cannot apply to them. There are casinos in some areas controlled by ethnic armed groups. They are not permitted by us,” he added.
Myanmar along with Thailand are the only two countries in South East Asia which do have casinos. It is looking to benefit by targeting both Western and Chinese tourists and players.