Asia round-up: Thailand approves casino proposals; AGEM’s new President & NSW reforms

In today's Asia round-up, we get the latest from Thailand, New South Wales and catch up on the latest appointments at AGEM...

Thailand Casino

Thailand approves proposal for establishing integrated resorts 

Thailand’s House of Representatives has approved a bill submitted for the establishment of integrated resorts.  

As reported by Gambling Insider last week, proposals had been made to launch several casino locations across the country, including in Bangkok and the Eastern Economic Corridor, which includes the Pattaya and Rayong regions. 

The proposals called for a cap of 5% on gambling space, with resorts set to feature five-star hotels, amusement parks, sports stadiums and even zoos as part of their customer experience. 

The vote made by the House of Representatives, which was 310 to nine votes in favour, does not yet legalise gambling in Thailand as the bill must first be forwarded to the Government, whose job it is to conduct detailed studies on the economic suitability of regulated land-based gaming. 

Committee member Pakornwut Udompipatsakul, from the Move Forward Party, said: “A decision on the casino-entertainment complex project is likely to be made by the next Government. 

“It can’t happen within two or three years and most importantly public hearings and even a referendum among locals must be organised.”  

Per the current plans, only foreign players will be allowed entry into Thai casinos, and locals over the age of 21 who can prove they have held at least TBH500,000 (US$15,000) in their bank account for six months. 

Light & Wonder President Robert Parente named President of AGEM 

The Association of Gaming Equipment Manufacturers (AGEM) has named Light & Wonder President Robert Parente its new President.  

Elected to the role for the next two years, Parente succeeds David Lucchese, EVP of Sales for Marketing and Digital at Everi, who led the organisation through a “challenging” two years dominated by Covid-19. 

The AGEM is a not-for-profit international trade organisation that represents manufacturers of electronic table games, lotteries, systems and iGaming content.  

Alongside Parente, six additional officers have been appointed to new roles. This includes new VPs, Elaine Hodgson, President and CEO of Incredible Technologies; Former President David Lucchese and Luke Orchard, SVP of Chief Compliance & Risk Management Officer at IGT.  

Meanwhile, Thomas Jingoli, EVP and COO of Konami has been appointed AGEM Secretary and Ryan Comstock, COO of Ainsworth Game Technology is the new Treasurer.  

NSW Labor announces proposed gambling reforms 

A list of major gambling reforms has been announced by New South Wales (NSW) Labor, which will be implemented should it win the state election in March. 

Reforms would include a year-long trial of cashless gaming cards, the banning of political donations from clubs, the banning of signage advertising poker machines outside venues and the expansion of self-exclusion registers to use facial recognition technology. 

A Labor Government would also aim to reduce the overall number of pokie machines in NSW by increasing the forfeit ratio imposed when venues purchase pokie machines from other pubs and clubs to one in two. 

After a lengthy back and forth with the Government on how to properly tackle problem gambling and money laundering via pokies, opposition leader Chris Minns announced the potential reforms. 

Should Labor win the election, the 12-month trial of cashless gaming cards would begin in July 2023 and would be conducted in a limited number of venues involving at least 500 machines. Both metropolitan and regional areas would be involved. 

The mandatory trial would be overseen by an independent panel including industry representatives, law enforcement, gambling and health experts, and academics. 

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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