In what could be a boost to the Asian gambling market and another safe haven for Indians wishing to play poker and casinos games, Myanmar is looking to modify current gambling legislation. This is being seen as a move to allow brick and mortar casinos to operate in the country. If this holds true, then India’s neighbour could be the latest entrant to the multi-billion dollar Asian gambling market.
“We haven’t issued any licenses for casinos yet because it is still considered a type of illegal gambling,” said U Myo Win Nyunt, a director from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, in an interview published by the Myanmar Times. According to Win Nyunt, however, the Ministry of Home Affairs is currently evaluating the possibility gambling reform that would allow casino gambling.
Myanmar which had for long been segregated from the rest of the world managed to get back to democracy after 50 years of military dictatorship only 3 years back. Off late, the new government is seeking economic measures to give the country a boost. Certain changes in their gambling laws is one such initiative to get hold of a slice of the gambling-tourism pie.
If the government succeeds in doing the same, then there could be a mushrooming of casinos in some hotels of the country. Authorities also state that this move could be also targeted at formalise the illegal gambling structure currently prevalent in the country.
Myanmar currently receives around 2 million tourists, mainly from Thailand and China. But gambling tourism in the form of casinos can be a huge boost to the tourism sector. Indians who also head to south Asia for their gambling could also find a closer-to-home option in Myanmar. Currently, Indians head to Kathmandu and Colombo for generic casino action which is easy and cheaper trip. For more competitive poker action, Indians go to Manila and Macau besides the offshore Goa casinos. If Myanmar opens up this sector then we could surely see Indian gambling seeking tourists also increase. The uncertainty of Kathmandu casinos has already decreasing interest in the Himalayan Kingdom and Myanmar could very well cash in on that.