Thailand Explores Casino Expansion Despite Human Trafficking Concerns
November 15, 2023, 01:12h.
Thailand is considering the expansion of its gaming industry, but critics fear that the move could worsen issues related to corruption and human trafficking. The potential for integrated resorts in the country has drawn both excitement and concern from various stakeholders.
The Bangkok Post recently published an op-ed shedding light on the plight of 164 Thai nationals who are currently trapped in Myanmar’s Shan state due to ongoing conflict between government troops and rebel factions. Some of these individuals were enticed to Myanmar with promises of employment in call centers and casinos, while others may have fallen victim to human traffickers who aim to exploit them as forced workers in gaming establishments.
The situation is complicated by the fact that casinos in Myanmar, located near the Thai border, are rumored to be involved in illicit activities beyond gambling, including drug trafficking and human smuggling. The editorial in the Post highlighted concerns about the potential collaboration between corrupt Thai officials and individuals in Myanmar, leading to the laundering of money back into Thailand through luxury purchases and real estate investments.
The Thai government has been vocal about its anti-human smuggling stance, but there is a lack of concrete steps to address the issue. The publication’s commentary comes at a time when Thai policymakers are deliberating the possibility of introducing traditional, regulated gaming venues in the country. The formation of a committee to explore this matter was announced last month, signaling a potential shift in the country’s approach to the gaming industry.
However, the prospect of regulated casinos in Thailand has raised apprehensions about the potential for increased human trafficking and corruption. Experts have cautioned that the country’s reputation for widespread corruption, as indicated by its low ranking on the 2022 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, could deter major gaming operators from entering the market.
While the introduction of integrated resorts could bring substantial economic benefits to Thailand, the nation must address the concerns raised regarding human trafficking and corruption. The delicate balance between economic development and social responsibility will be a crucial factor in determining the future of the gaming industry in Thailand.