Myanmar has finalized a new gambling law that would pave the way for casinos in three-star and higher hotels near border crossings. However, these casinos would only allow foreigners inside their premises.
An official from the country’s Home Affairs Ministry told Deutsche Presse-Agentur about the latest version of the reformed gambling law, which must now go to parliament for a stamp of approval. Specific details about the law were not fully disclosed but in addition to allowing foreigner-only casinos, the legislation would also legalize and regulate some forms of lotteries currently deemed illegal.
“It’s better to get more revenue for [the] country by legalizing the illegal lotteries,” the official told DPA.
The country’s lottery head Thein Naing has long been a proponent of upgrading the country’s state lottery system, which has been described graciously by some as creaky and antiquated. Naing has indicated his desire to see the development of an online lottery system to take advantage of current technology available to the country’s residents.
The new development comes a month after the country’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism Director Myo Win Nyunt said casinos in Myanmar would remain illegal until the government grants licenses in accordance with the proposed gambling law.
Several estimates have suggested that 70 percent of Myanmar’s adult population has participated in some form of illegal gambling. The new law aims to curb that number significantly, while also kickstarting a 2013 tourism master plan that set a target of attracting 7 million tourists by 2020.
These plans fall in line with the country’s attempts to turn Myanmar into a more popular tourist destination after reforms were made in 2011. The reforms have seen the country welcome 2 million tourists in 2013, with more spikes expected to happen in the coming years.