Myanmar’s parliament approves gambling bill: report

The lower house of Myanmar’s legislature approved on Wednesday a bill that would authorise in principle the setting up of foreigner-only casinos in the country, reports Myanmar-based English-language Eleven Media.

The Gambling Bill 2018 – submitted to the lower chamber of parliament in late August – is said to include amendments to an existing statute, the Gambling Act 1986.

The news outlet cited legislator Nay Myo Tun as saying the detailed rules and by-laws for a casino industry would be decided once the framework legislation was passed. “This is not a casino law. The casino law has many sections,” he stated.

Another member of parliament had said in August that only foreigners “would be allowed into the casinos”. Legislator Aung Hlaing Win said authorities would “target areas with the most foreigners, such as near the border” for the establishment of casinos.

Aung Naing Oo, director-general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, said in previous commentary that a number of casino operators have shown interest in investing in Myanmar, including companies currently operating in Macau.

It was reported in January that five regional and state chief ministers in Myanmar had 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 at the time the Myanmar Times newspaper.

Several casinos are already documented on casino directory websites as operating in the Myanmar portion of the so-called ‘Golden Triangle’ – a place where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong Rivers.