Myanmar takes a step closer to casino legalization

In the south-east Asian nation of Myanmar, Wednesday reportedly saw the 440-seat House of Representatives pass draft legislation that would legalize the operation of a limited number of foreigner-only casinos.

Legislation would amend existing prohibition:

According to a report from GGRAsia citing a story from English-language news outlet, Eleven Media, the proposed Gambling Bill 2018 was submitted to the lower parliamentary chamber late last month and its entire ratification would amend existing statutes contained in the fore-running Gambling Act 1986 that bans the operation of casinos.

Advantageous location:

Long known as Burma until a 1989 name change, Myanmar is a nation of some 51 million inhabitants sandwiched between India, Thailand and China. But, gambling opportunities are rare for the vast majority of citizens in these neighboring nations and it is reportedly hoped that the introduction of casinos would allow the ‘Land of the Golden Pagodas’ to attract more foreign tourists and associated tax revenues.

The Myanmar Times earlier reported that it is hoped that the debut of casinos would help Myanmar to attract additional foreign cash as the past five years have seen the value of the local kyat currency plummet by almost 100% when compared with the United States dollar.

Institution of a framework:

The source further reported that local legislator Nay Myo Tun told Eleven Media that the successful passage of the Gambling Bill 2018 would create a framework upon which more specific regulations could subsequently be added. He declared that the measure ‘is not a casino law’ as such legislation ‘has many sections.’

Casinos for ‘border’ areas:

Mingaladon Township Representative Aung Hlaing Win told Eleven Media that the government would likely only be willing to allow ‘areas with the most foreigners such as near the border’ to feature casinos. As for who may operate these venues, Aung Naing Oo, Director General for the state-run Investment and Company Administration Directorate, detailed that several firms including some from Macau had already expressed an interest.

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