The House of Representatives has set up a 60-member committee to study the potential opening of entertainment complexes, including casinos, to address the problem of illegal casinos and boost the country's economy, as proposed in a motion submitted by MPs from various parties.
Supporters of the motion included Thoedchart Chaipong, a Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Rai, Non Paisanlimcharoenkij, a Move Forward Party MP for Nonthaburi, and Chatchawal Kong-udom, a United Thai Nation Party list MP.
The motion, calling for the formation of a committee to examine the matter, underwent deliberation in a House meeting chaired by House Speaker Wan Muhamad Noor Matha on Thursday.
During the debate, many MPs voiced their support for the motion.
Rangsiman Rome, a Move Forward Party list MP, expressed his support but warned that a similar working body was also established by the previous House of Representatives to study this matter.
The opposition MP said he was informed that a company based in Tak province, accused of engaging in human trafficking and the illicit trade of human organs, succeeded in sending a representative to express its views before the committee, seemingly with malicious intent.
Mr Rangsiman emphasised the need for preventive measures against ill-intentioned influence.
The Move Forward MP said he believed that legalising casinos in Thailand could lead to the collapse of border-operating casinos, redirecting Thai gamblers' money towards government revenue for national development.
Rangsiman: Legalising casinos in Thailand could redirect Thai gamblers' money towards government revenue.
United Thai Nation Party list MP Chatchawal highlighted the loss of income due to Thai people travelling to neighbouring countries for casino gambling. Mr Chatchawal said he first proposed the legalisation of casinos 30 years ago, but many people disagreed.
At least five entertainment complexes with casinos should be strategically located across the country - one each in the North, the South, the East, the West and the Central Plains, he said.
These complexes would provide jobs for Thai people so that they would not have to look for jobs in the Middle East, which is prone to armed conflicts, Mr Chatchawal said.
Following the debate, with no objection from any MP, Mr Wan set up a 60-member committee to study the opening of entertainment complexes. The committee has 90 days to complete its task.
Mr Wan then announced that parliament, which has opened since July 3, will complete its first session on Oct 30.
A royal decree announcing the closure of the parliamentary session from Oct 31 was then read out to legislators, and the House meeting was adjourned at 8.50pm.