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Thai PM Cautious on Casino Idea

12 September 2005

THAILAND – As reported by the Bangko Post: "Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra yesterday reacted cautiously to his tourism minister's idea of legalising casinos, which has drawn mixed views from academics and tour operators. The prime minister assured the public that he would not make any quick moves on the proposal, which he said needed public consultation and thorough consideration.

"…The idea, floated by Tourism and Sports Minister Pracha Maleenont on Thursday, included a proposal to set up casino complexes in major provinces with infrastructure already in place before expanding to other areas.

"Visanu Wongsinsirikul, an academic from Dhurakij Pundit University who has conducted research on the underground economy, warned about the move, saying legalising casinos would generate revenues but harm society because it would encourage more people to gamble.

"He supported the prime minister's position on gathering views from the public nationwide and said locations must be carefully selected and casinos, if approved, should open only to members…"

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