Mongolia Takes a Gamble on Legalizing Casino to Bring in Tourists and Boost Economy
The Minister of Justice and Home Affairs in Mongolia has submitted draft laws on casinos, betting, and lottery to the parliament. These laws are part of the government's plan to promote Mongolia as a tourist destination in the years 2023-2025, and the Minister emphasized the potential for casinos to contribute to the country's economy and increase tourist numbers.
Mongolia faces both challenges and opportunities in attracting international tourists. On the one hand, the country is relatively remote and not as well-known as other destinations, which can make it harder to attract tourists. Additionally, the country's infrastructure and tourism industry are still developing, which can make it more difficult to accommodate and serve visitors.
On the other hand, Mongolia has many unique and attractive features that could draw tourists. These include its rich cultural heritage, diverse natural landscapes, and opportunity for adventure travel. By developing its tourism industry and offering new attractions such as casinos, the country can capitalize on these strengths and attract more visitors.
There are several examples of countries that have successfully legalized casinos and seen significant economic benefits as a result. For example, in the United States, casinos have been a major contributor to the economy, with many states relying on the revenue generated by these establishments. In Las Vegas, casinos have helped to transform the city into a major tourist destination, with millions of visitors each year coming to enjoy the entertainment and leisure offered by the casinos and other attractions.
Similarly, in Macau, a special administrative region of China, casinos have played a major role in attracting tourists and driving economic growth. Macau has become one of the world's most popular destinations for gambling, with casinos bringing in billions of dollars in revenue each year.
The Mongolian government hopes to replicate the success of these cities by legalizing casinos and attracting operators to invest in the country. Legalizing a casino can help to boost the country's tourism industry and increase government income.
The Law on Casino will require casino operators to pledge a minimum investment of $300 million in Mongolia, with 40% of the daily profits going to the government as income tax. After 30 years, the government will also receive 50% ownership of the tables. The law prohibits the transfer of licenses once they are obtained.
In addition to the new laws on casinos, betting, and lottery, the government is also considering a bill to legalize horse racing bets, which would regulate all forms of gambling and betting in Mongolia.
The Mongolian government aims to turn the new international airport into a free trade zone, with the goal of attracting casinos to the area and further boosting the country's tourism industry and government income.
About Amar Adiya
Amar Adiya is Editor-in-Chief of Mongolia Weekly, an English newsletter on political analysis and business intelligence every week. He is also a regional director at Washington-based strategic advisory firm BowerGroupAsia.