Pattaya bids to become casino site

The resort town of Pattaya has found stronger support than nearby Koh Lan Island as both vie to become the site for a controversial casino venture.


But an MP from the province called for caution yesterday, saying a thorough study should be conducted on the matter. Sonthaya Khunpluem, secretary general of the Chat Thai Party, called for a “symposium” to give the idea “serious study”.


Pattaya city manager Pairat Sutthithamrong said he strongly favoured establishing a casino in Chon Buri province to boost its economy and tourism.


Pairat preferred having it in Pattaya rather than Koh Lan. He said there should be regulations to control the access of locals and foreigners to the casino.


He suggested an arrangement in which the government would keep an agreed percentage of the profits from the gaming operations, which would be run by private investors.


Chatchawan Supachanon, chairman of the Thai Association of Eastern Hotel Businesses, said he agreed with the plan of having the casino in Pattaya. If it was located in Koh Lan, its construction would ruin pristine beaches, he said.


Yotthong Siwaralak, a security expert from Bang Lamung district, said it was acceptable for the casino to be set up anywhere. If strict rules were observed, legalised gambling would not have an adverse impact on youth, he claimed.


The semiautonomous government of Macau is looking to copy Nevada’s gaming regulation model, sources said.


The move surfaced after the Macau government tapped two prominent Las Vegas casino developers, Desert Inn owner Steve Wynn and The Venetian owner Sheldon Adelson, to build and operate resort-style casinos in the Chinese enclave.


Macau Chief Executive Edmund Ho recently wrote a letter to UFABet Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander asking for a round of discussions between …