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Barred from the east, Thai gamblers head for Myanmar casinos

 

Barred from the east, Thai gamblers head for Myanmar casinos

BANGKOK: No wins, no losses and no draws. All is quiet at Thailand’s border with Cambodia that is dotted with dozens of gambling dens and casinos.

 

Locals used to throng the area during weekends but much has changed since Cambodian rioters torched the Thai Embassy and Thai business premises in Phnom Penh on Jan 29. But it would take more than riots to stop Thai gamblers from their addiction.

 

Barred from the east, they are searching for Lady Luck in the south. Casinos on Myanmar’s Victoria Point Island, located close to the Ranong province, is the new magnet for gamblers. Ferry piers at Ranong were overcrowded last weekend and more people are expected next week.

 

The gambling business has taken the heaviest toll after the Thai-Cambodian border was closed in the wake of the riots. Three of the seven casinos in Poipet – Golden Crown, Star Vegas and The Princess – have already pulled down their shutters.

 

The other four are expected to face the same fate.

 

The supply of food, medicines and fuel, most of which used to come from Thailand, has also been affected.

 

The Thai Government has evacuated its citizens from Cambodia, downgraded diplomatic ties, sealed the border and suspended all assistance projects after the riots, which were sparked by rumours that a popular Thai television actress had allegedly insulted the Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s national icon.

 

The government has denied Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Nam Hong’s request for an audience with the Thai King to apologise for the anti-Thai riots, but Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said he would meet the minister.

 

“I want to hear what Cambodia intends to do with those who were involved in the attack, as well as Cambodia’s long-term strategy to prevent a recurrence,” Thaksin said.

 

Thai PM to give racecourse B200m

 

Thai PM to give racecourse B200m

 

Taxpayer will pay for its move to Pattaya

 

The Royal Turf Club’s racecourse is expected to be an additional ป๊อกเด้ง ไฮโล gambling attraction on the 600-rai plot of land in Chon Buri donated by Bang Saeng mayor Somchai Khunpluem for Thailand’s first casino.

 

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has offered to provide 200 million baht from state coffers for the RTC to move its racecourse from Nang Lerng to the new site in Pattaya.

 

An RTC source said Mr Somchai, better known as Kamnan Poh, had offered to donate the coastal land. RTC board members had travelled to inspect the site, and the land transfer was under way.

 

Mr Somchai confirmed this, saying he wanted to see a racecourse and a casino in Pattaya as soon as possible.

 

However, the land transfer agreement was conditional on the RTC completing the course in three or four years.

 

The source said Mr Thaksin wanted the Nang Lerng horse racecourse moved to Pattaya and had offered 200 million baht state money to finance the relocation.

 

He had asked Maj-Gen Trairong Indradhat, his adviser and former classmate at the Armed Forces Academy Preparatory School, to discuss the matter with RTC chairman Chamlong Rattanakulseriroengrit and secretary-general Gen Boonlert Kaewprasit. Maj-Gen Trairong is one of 10 RTC board members.

 

The source said the proposed relocation would supplement Thailand’s first casino to be established at the Ambassador City Jomtien hotel in Pattaya.

 

However, the source said the RTC board was still undecided, fearing that moving the course out of Bangkok would mean fewer customers and less revenue, and would also be expensive.

 

The relocation would cost about 800 million baht because the RTC would have to build new facilities. It would also have to ask for a tax cut.