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Casinos may be allowed to operate after gambling law amendment

Casinos will be allowed to operate in Myanmar after amendments are made to the Gambling Law by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), is enacted, said U Aung Naing Oo, director general of the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) this week.

This comes after five regional and state chief ministers from Mandalay, Tanintharyi, Shan, Kayin and Mon in January asked Vice President U Henry Van Thio to grant permission for casinos to operate in hotels in their respective areas.

Currently, casinos are banned in Myanmar under the 1986 Gambling Law. Amendments are currently being processed by the MHA after which casino operations will be allowed in the country, U Aung Naing Oo told The Myanmar Times.

U Aung Naing Oo added that casino investors have shown interest in expanding in Myanmar for four years now. Casino operators from Macao and East Asia are among those who have expressed interest, he said.

Once amended, the Gambling Law will take precedence over the Hotel and Tourism Law, which is now being discussed in Parliament. “The Hotel and Tourism Law contains one stipulation which allows casinos to operate together with a hotel,” said U Yan Win, chair of the Myanmar Tourism Federation.

“However, if the Gambling Law is not amended, casinos will not be allowed to operate, even if it is with a hotel,” he said.

He added that casinos can be used to draw more tourists into Myanmar and used to promote tourism in the country.

However, under former President U Thein Sein’s term, the Myanmar Investment Commission had released a statement (1/2013) which allowed casinos for foreigners in restricted areas under the remit of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.

Two casinos are already operating in Myeik, Tanintharyi Region, together with two hotels on Tha Htay island and Yadana Island.

In fact, the casino in Grand Andaman Resort Hotel at Tha Htay island has already been operating for 20 years and has paid over $12 million in taxes to the regional government, said U Myo Win Than, executive director of the hotel.

Source: Myanmar Times

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