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Legal casinos for Thailand? Police chief says "yes"

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The idea of legalising casinos, long debated but never adopted, is back in the news after National police chief Somyot Poompunmuang joined 12 National Reform Council members in supporting its implementation

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A police officer descends a ladder from the roof of the notorious Tao Poon casino in Bang Sue district in April 2013. Officers had to gain access to the illegal casino from the roof after they were faced with heavily fortified entry points on the ground. Despite police efforts to stamp it out, National police chief Somyot Poompunmuang says illegal gambling is rampant. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTARASILL

Legal casinos for Thailand?

The idea of legalising casinos in Thailand, an issue debated for decades, came back to life recently. A group of 12 members of the National Reform Council (NRC) proposed that the country follow the lead of its neighbours Myanmar, Cambodia and Malaysia and begin with a legal casino in Pattaya.

As usual, the arguments were economic: casinos would draw tourists, create jobs and generate vast amounts of revenue for the government, taking it away from casinos in neighbouring countries and from the thriving network of underground casinos inside Thailand itself.

The idea seemed to die even before gambling opponents could point out the social problems that inevitably accompany legalised gambling. NRC chairman Thienchay Kiranandana said his body was not going to consider the gambling issue.

Yesterday, however, it was back in the news in a big way when National police chief Somyot Poompunmuang came out in support of legalised gambling – with strict conditions.

Here is an excerpt from today's story in the Bangkok Post

National police chief Somyot Poompunmuang says he would be happy to be the first police chief to help implement the controversial idea of legalising casinos in Thailand. JIRAPORN KUHAKAN

Police chief lends support to legalising casinos

POST REPORTERS

National police chief Somyot Poompunmuang has weighed in on a proposal to legalise casinos, but suggests curbs be imposed on who can enter.

Months ahead of his retirement from the force, Pol Gen Somyot said Wednesday he would be happy to be the first police chief to implement the controversial idea. He appears to envisage a string of regional casinos, which he said should be open to people only with means and not to residents of the local area.

A Bangkok resident could not try his luck in a Bangkok casino, but would have to travel further afield such as Phuket, on the basis he would be bringing in income from a different area. In any event, he said all players must have "strong" finances, to help guard against poor people ending up even poorer as a result of gambling losses.

A 2008 photo of the Paradise casino in Myanmar just across from Chiang Rai. THEERAWAT KHAMTHITA

Pol Gen Somyot said that one month before his mandatory retirement at the end of September, he will call the media to declare his support for the proposed legalisation of casinos, and launch a personal website to gauge public opinion.

Pol Gen Somyot said Thailand has all it takes to run casinos – good food and tourist attractions, and advanced entertainment and shopping complexes.

He has also addressed concerns about the impact of gambling addiction and possible gambling-related crimes. Pol Gen Somyot said a database of gamblers would be set up with all people entering casinos being photographed and registered.

Taxes from casinos could be spent on education and social affairs, he said, adding he is not intimidated by opposition from civic groups campaigning against gambling and vice. Without legalised casinos, illegal gambling is rampant, he said.

Pro-casino NRC member Anan Watcharothai said Wednesday he would continue to push ahead with the idea as long as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and NRC chairman Thienchay Kiranandana do not put the brakes on it. The prime minister says the government has no stance on the issue and the public should decide.

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Vocabulary:

accompany : to happen or appear with something else - มากับ, ร่วมกับ

addiction : a strong need or wish to spend as much time as possible doing a particular activity - การติด

address : to try to deal with a problem or question - จัดการกับปัญหา

affairs : events affecting a government, organisation, industry, etc. - กรณียกิจ, กิจธุระ

argument : a reason or reasons why you support or oppose an idea or suggestion - เหตุผล

attraction : something that creates interest and brings people to see it - การดึงดูดความสนใจ

basis (noun): the idea or system that something is "based" on - พื้นฐาน,รากฐาน,หลักสำคัญ

body : a group of people who work or act together, often for an official purpose, or who are connected in some other way - กลุ่มคน, นิติบุคคล

campaign : to try to achieve political or social change by persuading other people or the government to do something - รณรงค์

casino : a building where gambling games, especially roulette and card games are played for money - บ่อนการพนัน

civic group : a group made up of citizens rather than government officials -

complex : an area that has several parts - พื้นที่ประกอบด้วยส่วนต่าง ๆ

concerns : worries - ความกังวล

conditions : things that must be true or must be done before another thing can happen - เงื่อนไข

consider : to give careful thought to something before making a decision - พิจารณา

controversial : causing disagreement or disapproval - ซึ่งก่อให้เกิดการโต้แย้ง

council : a group of people chosen to give advice, make rules, do research, provide money - สภา, คณะกรรมการ

curb (noun): something that controls and puts limits on something - สิ่งควบคุม, สิ่งจำกัด, สิ่งระงับ

database : a large amount of information stored in a computer in an organised way - ฐานข้อมูล

debate : to discuss something, especially by giving different opinions - อภิปราย, ถกเถียง, โต้เถียง

decade : a period of ten years - ทศวรรษ

declare : to announce officially - ประกาศ

descend : to go down - ลงมา

draw : to attract or interest somebody - ดึงดูดความสนใจ

economic (adj): connected with the trade, industry and development of wealth of a country, an area or a society - เกี่ยวกับเศรษฐกิจ, ในทางเศรษฐศาสตร์

envisage (verb): to imagine what will happen in the future - คาดการณ์

finances : money used to run a business, an activity or a project - แหล่งเงินทุน, แหล่งรายได้

fortified (adj): able to resist attack, especially by building high walls จัดเครื่องป้องกัน - จัดเครื่องป้องกัน

further afield : farther away -

gain access : to be able to enter a building or place - เข้าสู่

gambler : a person who risks money on a card game, horse race, etc - นักการพนัน,นักเสี่ยงโชค

gambling : the activity of betting money, for example in a game or on a horse race - การพนัน

gauge : to calculate something approximately - วัด,ประเมิน

generate : to produce - ก่อให้เกิด

illegal : against the law - ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย

impact (noun): an effect or influence - ผลกระทบ

implement : to make something such as an idea, plan, system or law start to work and be used - นำแผนหรือนโยบายมาปฏิบัติ, นำมาใช้

impose : to force someone to accept something - กำหนด,บังคับ

in any event (idiom): true or will happen in spite of other circumstances - ไม่ว่าจะเกิดอะไรก็ตาม

income : money that someone gets from working or from investing money - รายได้

inevitably : unavoidable; certain to happen - ซึ่งหลีกเลี่ยงไม่ได้

intimidated : frightened or nervous because you are not confident in a situation - ทำให้กลัว, ข่มขู่, กรรโชก

issue : a subject that people discuss or argue about - ประเด็น

launch (verb): to start something - เริ่มต้น, เปิดโครงการ, เริ่มทำ

legal : allowed by the law - ถูกต้องตามกฎหมาย

legalisation (noun): the fact of making something legal - นิติกรณ์

legalise : to make something be according to the law - ทำให้มีอำนาจตามกฎหมาย ทำให้ถูกต้องตามกฎหมาย

lend support : to give support (to something someone else has suggested) - ให้การสนับสนุน

local : in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about - ท้องถิ่น

mandatory : ordered by a law or rule - ตามข้อบังคับ

means (noun): the money that a person has; having great wealth - เงินทอง, ทรัพย์สมบัติ, ทรัพย์สิน

media : radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group - สื่อ

neighbour : someone (or towns, cities, countries) who lives or is located near you - เพื่อนบ้าน

neighbouring : located or living near or next to a place or person - ติดกัน, ที่อยู่ใกล้เคียง, ที่ตั้งอยู่ใกล้เคียง

network : a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย

notorious : famous for something bad - ซึ่งมีชื่อเสียงในทางไม่ดี

opponent : someone who disagrees with you or who is competing against you - ผู้ไม่เห็นด้วยกับ, ฝ่ายตรงข้าม

opposition : strong disagreement with a plan or policy - ความขัดแย้ง

proposal : a plan or suggestion for a group to consider - ข้อเสนอ

propose : to suggest an idea for a group to consider - เสนอ

proposed : suggested as an idea for a group to consider - ถูกเสนอ

public : open to people in general - สาธารณะ

put the brakes on : to stop something -

rampant : existing, happening or spreading in an uncontrolled way - รุกลาม อาละวาด กำเริบ รุนแรงจนควบคุมไว้ไม่ได้

recently (adverb): not long ago - เมื่อไม่นานมานี้, เมื่อเร็วๆ นี้

reform : a change that is intended to correct a situation that is wrong or unfair - การแก้ไข การปฏิรูป

regional : of or relating to a region - เกี่ยวกับภูมิภาค

register : to put your name and other information on an official list in order to be allowed to do something, e.g., vote, study, stay in a hotel etc - ลงทะเบียน

resident : a person who lives in a particular area - ผู้ที่อาศัยในท้องที่

retirement (noun): the time when you stop working, especially because of old age - เกษียณอายุ, การอำลาวงการ

revenue : income from taxes or business activities - รายได้

roof (noun): the structure that covers or forms the top of a building or vehicle - หลังคา

stamp out : to end something bad or unpleasant by taking strong action - ยุติ, ดับ

stance : an attitude or view about an issue that you state clearly; position - จุดยืน

strict : very careful and exact - เข้มงวด

string (noun): a set or series of things that are joined together - แถว, การเรียงต่อเนื่อง

the public : people in general - ประชาชน, สาธารณชน, มหาชน

thriving : very successful - ประสบความสำเร็จอย่างสูง

underground : operating secretly and often illegally - ใต้ดิน

vast : extremely large in size or amount, etc. - มากมาย

vice : criminal activities that involve sex or drugs - ความชั่วร้าย, เรื่องชั่วทางเพศ

weigh in : to join in a discussion, an argument, an activity, etc. by saying something important, persuading somebody, or doing something to help - แสดงความคิดเห็น

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