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Gambling Laws in Myanmar

by sam.h

As countries experience constant phases of development and progress, regulations of the law can be subject to various changes. In the case of Myanmar, the 1986 Gambling Law that forbids the operation of casinos in the country was repealed in hopes of adding to the tourism industry in the country.

Myanmar’s The Gambling Law of 1986 (Pyithu Hluttaw Law No.6/1986)

Ultimately, the decision was stemmed by various factors, which also includes the amount of ongoing illegal gambling occurring on the border of the country. Replacing 1986 legislation that imposed a blanket ban on gambling also helps to boost tourism and tax revenues, said Mingaladon MP U Aung Hlaing Win.

A similar move against regulation of casino to help the country generate additional tax revenue and tourism strength is also seen in Singapore. In April of 2005, Singapore announced the construction 2 casino resorts and have since seen incredible revenue returns, totaling up to $5.9 in estimated gross gaming revenue in 2010. Proper regulation has been proven to be a good solution to curb illegal casino operations.

Myanmar’s 2019 Gambling law (Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law No.13/2019)

The 2019 Gambling Law (Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law No.13/2019) allows casinos serving foreigners only to operate countrywide; meanwhile Myanmar nationals face up to five years in prison for throwing the dice.

The legal document stating all the terms in the English-translated version of the 2018 Gambling Law contains many clauses, but here are several highlighted entries:

  • 2(k): “Casino” means a place or building registered according to the permission of the Union Government with specified terms where only foreigners may gamble
  • 11: no one shall do any of the following without permission:
  • 11(a): Opening, operating, receiving bets, acting as a banker, obtaining monetary interest or supporting these acts with regard to a lottery or other games of chance similar to a lottery; or
  • 11(b): establishing, opening, operating, receiving bets, acting as a banker, obtaining monetary interest or supporting these acts with regard to a casino
  • 23: The Government may allow the establishment and opening of casinos with specified terms
  • 28: The Gambling law 1986 (Pyithu Hluttaw Law No.6/1986) is repealed by this law

The intention of the Law is to match pace with the new era and to regulate the life of public social economics, specifically since the same may be damaged due to gambling. It is clearly stated that participation in casino by foreigners are allowed while local are still prohibited from engaging. Failure to comply with this regulation will result in imprisonment time from 1 to 6 months along with a fine of 50,000 Ks in lighter cases.

Online Gambling

While the 2019 Gambling Law clearly states the Myanmar’s government’s perspective on land-based local casinos, there are little to no mention of the online aspect. For all practical purposes, there are no regulations but this might change in the near future as the government starts to see the benefit in proper well-conducted regulations.

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