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Burma – Government to debate casino regulation

By - 16 September 2013

A proposal in Burma’s tourism master plan released this summer during the World Economic Forum in Naypyidaw, suggests that the country should hold a discussion about allowing casinos in resorts to draw tourists to Burma, part of the government’s hopes to attract around seven million visitors a year by 2020.

However, the proposal remains just a discussion note and has not yet developed further. Gambling is banned in Burma aside from the country’s official state lottery, which is drawn once per month. To attract more Burmese to play the state lottery, the winnings were increased in 2012, with the top prize raised to 150 million kyats, or around $150,000. But despite the greater spoils, the lottery faces a struggle against Burma’s massive off-the-books gambling sector. One estimate suggests that around 70 per cent of the adult population in Burma gambles. Those statistics mean that in all likelihood, more Burmese play the state lottery and make illegal wagers on the Thai stock exchange and European football than are connected to the country’s power grid.

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