The Lower House of the Myanmar Parliament has passed a bill legalising foreigner-only gambling following a submission by the country’s Public Affairs Management committee.
The bill, which was minorly amended to specify financial responsibility, will now be submitted to the Parliament’s Upper House, the House of Nationalities.
“The Public Affairs Management committee submitted the proposal to the Bill committee which forwarded it to the Parliament,” said minister Nay Myo Tun.
“It was discussed by 12 MPs at Parliament. They amended some phrases in the bill.”
The amended phrases include a section detailing that the Ministry of Planning and Finance’s Internal Revenue Department is solely responsible for state lottery regulation.
The bill updates the restrictive 1986 Gambling Act, as well as a 2014 amendment permitting foreigner-only casino operations near border crossings, and follows an embassy at the end of last year by regional and state ministers petitioning Vice President U Henry Van Thio to allow casino gambling in hotels.
However, Myo Tun stated that the new bill “is not a casino law,” adding “the casino law has many sections.”
Though the current bill will fail to prevent the widespread illegal gambling in Tanintharyi Region and Shan State, the inclination by the government to pursue effective regulatory change appears a positive step.