Thailand’s Big Bet: The Future of Integrated Resorts

A unique once-in-a-generation opportunity for Thailand-fred-gushin

In an interview on the No Line Podcast with host Philip Beere , Fredric Gushin, president and CEO of Spectrum Gaming Group , shared his insights on the future of gaming in Thailand. With the growing interest from Thai government officials in the economic successes of Singapore and the Philippines, Thailand is on the cusp of a significant transformation in its gaming landscape.

Exploring Economic Benefits

Fred underscored the potential benefits of legalizing gaming in Thailand, drawing parallels to the thriving integrated resorts in Singapore and the Philippines. “Thailand is being left behind by its neighbors, such as Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, which all host casinos despite also being Buddhist countries,” Fred remarked. He highlighted the long-standing issue of illegal casinos operating in Thailand, suggesting that now could be the right time for the government to address this problem and harness the economic benefits.

Tourism and Legalization

The interview emphasized the attractiveness of Thailand to Chinese and Indian tourists. “Given how attractive the country is to Chinese and Indian tourists, among others, now seems to be a good time to push for gaming legalization,” Fred noted. This move aligns with Thailand’s recent visa exemption policy for these tourists, aimed at boosting arrivals after a significant drop in the first half of the year.

“Given how attractive the country is to Chinese and Indian tourists, among others, now seems to be a good time to push for gaming legalization.”

Fred Gushin, CEO of Spectrum Gaming Group

Historical Context and Legislative Momentum

Fred provided a historical perspective, noting that the idea of legalizing gaming in Thailand has been under consideration for many years. Early initiatives date back to 2002/2003, with further discussions in 2008/2009. The recent establishment of a Gaming Committee in Parliament indicates a renewed momentum. “There was support among multiple political parties for the legalization of gaming in Thailand,” he said, pointing out that the new government led by the Pheu Thai party provides a formal setting for this issue to be reconsidered.

Integrated Resorts as the Cornerstone

The most noticeable segment of Thailand’s potential gaming industry would be land-based casinos, particularly integrated resorts. Fred stressed the importance of these large-scale developments, which have been successful in other parts of Asia. “A single integrated resort can typically directly employ about 8,000 people,” he mentioned, highlighting the significant economic impact.

Regulatory Challenges and Opportunities

The Thai government will face various policy, regulatory, and legal issues as it considers the legalization of gaming. “The policy decisions made at the outset will decide the ultimate success of gaming in Thailand,” Fred emphasized. He advocated for adopting some of the fundamental concepts from Singapore’s regulatory model to ensure transparency, proper licensing, and anti-money laundering controls.

“The policy decisions made at the outset will decide the ultimate success of gaming in Thailand.”

Fred Gushin, CEO of Spectrum Gaming Group

Addressing Illegal Markets

Illegal or grey-area online gaming and sports betting are already prevalent in Thailand. Fred argued that legalizing and regulating these activities could produce significant tax revenues and provide consumer protections. “That is the trend we are seeing worldwide,” he said, citing the benefits of moving the grey market to a legal framework.

Regional Competition and Investment

Thailand’s neighbors have set the bar high with their gaming operations, and the country will need to adopt best practices to attract top-tier operators and financial sources. “Steps will need to be taken so that the country will not be placed on the Grey List of Money Laundering Countries,” Fred warned, emphasizing the importance of maintaining international standards.

A Unique Opportunity

Fred described the current situation as “a unique once-in-a-generation opportunity for Thailand.” He believes that Thailand has the potential to become a major player in the Asian gaming sector if it approaches the legalization process with the right public policy, law enforcement, and regulatory measures.

As Thailand stands on the brink of this significant change, the decisions made in the coming months will be crucial in shaping the future of its gaming industry. With the right framework, Thailand could see a new era of economic growth driven by integrated resorts and a legalized gaming market.

“The current situation as “a unique once-in-a-generation opportunity for Thailand.”

Fred Gushin, CEO of Spectrum Gaming Group

G2E Asia and the No Line Podcast

Fred will delve deeper into these topics during his session at G2E Asia 2024, where he will be part of a distinguished panel focusing on the burgeoning gaming markets in Thailand and the Middle East. Other panelists include Vitaly Umansky, Senior Research Analyst at Global Gaming; Daniel Cheng, Industry Analyst and Author; Udorn Olsson, Chairman of Phoenix Aviation (Thailand) Co., Ltd.; and Paul Bromberg, Senior Vice President of Investigations at Spectrum Gaming Group.

www.g2easia.com

Additionally, Fred will be featured in a live stream of the No Line Podcast on June 5 at 11 AM Macao time, at booth A329, the media booth for the No Line Podcast hosted by Philip Beere. Other guests will include Bill Miller, providing further insights into the evolving gaming landscape.

As G2E Asia approaches, industry stakeholders are keenly watching how Thailand’s gaming future will unfold, with significant implications for the region’s economic development.


About Spectrum Gaming

Spectrum Gaming Group is a global gaming research and professional services firm. Founded in 1993, it provides independent research, analysis, and regulatory services to clients worldwide. Spectrum has worked with governments, gaming operators, and investors to develop and implement effective gaming policies and strategies.

About Fred Gushin

Fred Gushin is the president and CEO of Spectrum Gaming Group. With over three decades of experience in gaming regulation and consulting, Fred has been instrumental in shaping gaming policies and regulations around the world. He has held key regulatory positions and has provided consulting services to numerous jurisdictions, helping them develop fair and transparent gaming environments.

About Philip Beere

Philip Beere is the host of THE NO LINE PODCAST , which focuses on responsible gaming and industry news. The podcast features stories about leaders in the gaming industry who are advancing innovation and technology to make gaming more responsible. Philip brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion for fostering a safer and more engaging gaming environment.

REFERENCES

Thai government aims to emulate gaming success of Singapore and the Philippines: Expert by Viviana Chan

YouTube: https://youtu.be/z5A3jmecqfw?si=aoSdZlwNZLHDBLlD

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