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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, …