Cabinet yet to rule on legalisation
Thailand’s first legal casino will be established in Pattaya if a proposal on the legalisation of casinos gets cabinet approval, says the Saensuk municipality mayor.
Somchai Khunpleum, also coordinator of the project, said yesterday the majority of local residents wanted a casino in the resort city. He had already submitted the results of two surveys to provincial authorities.
Mr Somchai said the casino project would begin soon after the government and agencies made a decision in favour of legal casinos in the country.
The government reportedly wants to see three or four casinos set up in the country with Pattaya, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Bangkok being potential sites.
Mr Somchai said he was confident Pattaya would get the first legal casino. “Pattaya is ready for the gambling business because it is well equipped with infrastructure with more 50,000 hotel rooms to accommodate visitors,” said Mr Somchai, alias Kamnan Poh, a Chon Buri business tycoon.
Part of the Ambassador City Jomtien hotel could be rented as a temporary site for the Keluaran Hk casino. The hotel would be rented out for 3-5 years. The rental fee should be about one million baht a day. The Jomtien municipality and local residents had agreed with the idea, he said.
Two groups of investors had sought information about casino investment and location.
The first group was made up of Las Vegas and Thai investors while the second group comprised investors from Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore.
Mr Somchai said the first group had more experience and planned to turn Pattaya into the “second Las Vegas”.
The Las Vegas group was ready to invest 50,000 million in the casino.
The mayor said he supported the project as it would create more than 10,000 jobs.
Mr Somchai said his working group has found some suitable areas for the casino project in tambon Huay Yai and in tambon Khao Mai Kaew in Bang Lamung district.
A source said Thai Rak Thai chief adviser Sanoh Thienthong and his team had recently submitted their study on the legalisation of casinos to Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Thai PM to give racecourse B200m
Taxpayer will pay for its move to Pattaya
The Royal Turf Club’s racecourse is expected to be an additional gambling attraction on the 600-rai plot of land in Chon Buri donated by Bang Saeng mayor Somchai Khunpluem for Thailand’s first casino.
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has offered to provide 200 million baht from state coffers for the RTC to move its racecourse from Nang Lerng to the new site in Pattaya.
An RTC source said Mr Somchai, better known as Kamnan Poh, had offered to donate the coastal land. RTC board members had travelled to inspect the site, and the land transfer was under way.
Mr Somchai confirmed this, saying he wanted to see a racecourse and a casino in Pattaya as soon as possible.
However, the land transfer agreement was conditional on the RTC completing the course in three or four years.
The source said Mr Thaksin wanted the Nang Lerng horse racecourse moved to Pattaya and had offered 200 million baht state money to finance the relocation.
He had asked Maj-Gen Trairong Indradhat, his adviser and former classmate at the Armed Forces Academy Preparatory School, to discuss the matter with RTC chairman Chamlong Rattanakulseriroengrit and secretary-general Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit. Maj-Gen Trairong is one of 10 RTC board members.
The source said the proposed relocation would supplement Thailand’s first casino to be established at the Ambassador City Jomtien hotel in Pattaya.
However, the source said the RTC board was still undecided, fearing that moving the course out of Bangkok would mean fewer customers and less revenue, and would also be expensive.
The relocation would cost about 800 million baht because the RTC would have to build new facilities. It would also have to ask for a tax cut.