Asia round-up: Push to legalise Thailand's online casinos; Bloomberry buying land & The Star

By Louis Thompsett

Thailand: Local party leaders push to legalise online casinos 

Several small political parties in Thailand, led by Local Power Party leader Chutchawan Kong-u-dom, have submitted a draft amendment to Thailand's Gambling Act for the legalisation of online casinos. 

Chutchawan, alongside 20 representatives of smaller parties, submitted the draft amendment to House Speaker Chuan Leekpai through the political working group member Pongsri Tarapoom. 

Chutchawan and his associates believe an amendment to legalise online casinos will help generate revenue in a country suffering economic hardships. 

And it's not stopping there; the collective is also pushing for the legalisaton of other forms of online gambling, as well as a revamped duty-free business.  

As proposed in the draft amendment, 10% of all taxes made from online casinos will be sent to Thailand’s Ministry of Finance, while the remaining 90% will fund state welfare initiatives.

O’Neill resigns as The Star Executive Chairman ahead of public hearing appearance 

John O’Neill has tendered his resignation as Executive Chairman of The Star Entertainment Group. 

This announcement comes only a few days before O’Neill is scheduled to give testimony at a public hearing regarding The Star’s Sydney casino.   

O’Neill was appointed Executive Chairman on 1 April to replace former Managing Director and CEO Matt Bekier. 

Bekier’s resignation was prompted by concerns raised during the review, commissioned by New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) and led by Adam Bell SC. 

“The Star Entertainment Group Limited announces that John O’Neill AO has tendered his resignation as Executive Chairman and will also step down from the Board with a departure date to be agreed” The Star Entertainment Group, Official Statement

O’Neill’s appointment was on an interim basis to manage Bekier’s responsibilities during the search for a permanent replacement, but O’Neill has already chosen to step down – as both Executive Chairman and from The Star Board – only a little over one month later. 

When O’Neill was appointed Executive Chairman in April, The Star said it had engaged headhunting firm Spencer Stuart to search for Bekier’s replacement. 

“The Star Entertainment Group Limited announces that John O’Neill AO has tendered his resignation as Executive Chairman and will also step down from the Board with a departure date to be agreed,” said the Australian casino operator. 

It added: “O’Neill will transition his Chair and executive responsibilities in an orderly manner.”

Chaos.

Bloomberry set to buy $144m of land for new IR 

Bloomberry Resorts is set to buy $144m worth of land to build a new Integrated Resort. 

Through a new subsidiary, Solaire Entertainment Property, Bloomberry has entered into an agreement comprising landowners Boulevard Holdings, Puerto Azul Land, Ternate Development and Monte Sol Development.  

The deal would see Bloomberry acquire 2,797,768 square metres of land in the Paniman area of Cavite, at an average price of PHP 2,700 ($52) per square metre. 

It’s worth noting, however, that Bloomberry will only push through its land purchase once the deal has been titled and cleared. 

Bloomberry intends to incorporate a golf course and hotel alongside a casino at its new IR, and the project is set to commence after the Solaire North in Quezon City has restarted its commercial operations. 

Earlier this month, Bloomberry announced its intention to purchase shares in PH Resorts’ Emerald Bay in Cebu, as well as planned developments in the Clark Freeport Zone. 

Bloomberry is making its intentions to dominate the Philippines’ land-based sector known. Once its new IR is built, Bloomberry will have the biggest IR presence in the country. 

The Philippines relaxed entry requirements back in February, and all lockdown measures were ended in April. This has propelled the country into a go-to tourist destination in Southeast Asia – and Bloomberry is taking advantage of that. 

Missed a big gambling industry story in Asia? Don't worry, Gambling Insider has you covered with our Asia round-up. 

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