Minister says Myanmar open to allow casinos: report

Myanmar’s minister for hotels and tourism, Ohn Maung, says the national government is not opposed to casinos being developed in the country, as a way to boost the tourism industry, reports Myanmar-based English-language Eleven Media.

The minister’s comments were made in response to a question by a member of the lower house of the country’s legislature, during a meeting on Friday. MP Aung Hlaing Win reportedly asked if the government had plans to allow foreigner-only casinos in some of the country’s island resorts in order to boost tourism and generate higher tax revenue for the government.

In his response, the minister was quoted as saying: “Although casinos are banned under the current gambling law, the concerned ministry has no objection against them. After the law is revised, they will be allowed.” He did not mention a schedule to revise relevant legislation.

It had been reported in January that five regional and state chief ministers in Myanmar have asked the central government to grant permission for casino operations in hotels in their respective areas.

Senior officials from Mandalay, Tanintharyi, Shan, Kayin and Mon made the representation, reported the Myanmar Times newspaper, citing as the source Yan Win, the chair of the Myanmar Tourism Federation.

According to Eleven Media, the Central Committee for the Development of the National Tourism Industry held a meeting on December 1 to discuss the possible legalisation of casino gambling in the country. The media outlet added that minister Ohn Maung made a suggestion at the time to revise the gambling law if necessary, in order to support the development of the country’s tourism industry.

In May 2015 it was reported by the Myanmar Times that a Singapore-based firm was close to signing a contract to develop a US$1.2-billion project, including a casino, on Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago.


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