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Could Gambling Save the Thai Tourism Sector?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing gambling. I have done another video contemporaneously with this one where we discuss whether marijuana or ganja could save the Thai tourism sector. 

Unfortunately, the economic fallout from the response to COVID-19 has been tremendous. These lockdowns had a devastating impact on the overall Thai economy especially the SME sectors. It has also had a tremendously negative impact on the tourism sector generally just across the board and that represents, depending on what you read but I think conservatively correct to say 17% of GDP came from tourism. So, the question on many folks lips is "when are we going to see tourism return and what do we need to do to sort of goose that return, to get that to happen sooner rather than later?" Now marijuana, certain aspects of cannabis, exclusively to the best my understanding of the law it has been decriminalized, legalized in a medicinal context, but there are many who believe that the fact that Thailand has this changed regime regarding marijuana versus many other jurisdictions in the region and in this part of the world which have pretty harsh penalties associated with usage of that particular product, that kind of creates a comparative advantage for Thailand. Along that same vein I have had people ask me and we have discussed gambling in Thailand, especially legalization, in a few videos on this channel over time and it is a good question. To be clear, gambling regulations really haven't changed much at least in the number of years I have been here. There is some legal gambling in Thailand. Things associated with horse racing, things associated under certain circumstances with Thai boxing. There are ad hoc licenses that might be granted for a very short time period for a party or something or for some event but for the most part Thailand very strictly regulates gambling, gaming in general. 

A question that has come up on a lot of folks’ minds is: "would legalization of gambling attract new tourists? would it attract tourists in? I think it stands to reason it probably would. Is it the end all be all saviour of all tourism? No, I think getting tourism reopened, getting the country reopened for tourism would probably be the best way to get tourists back. 

Long story short, it may be something to think about. There are negative ramifications to gaming and gambling. I worked in the casino industry going through law school and things. I am aware of both the upside and the downside to having a casino in a given location. It can be tremendously beneficial in certain ways. It certainly can bring in tax revenue but it can have tremendous societal negative impacts, societally on societies that have legalized gambling. So it is something that you have to be really careful with. It would be interesting to see what would happen but I don't think it is a foregone conclusion that we will see legalized gambling any time soon.