Pattaya Grapevine: Casinos a cash cow


Casinos a cash cow
The campaign to legalize casinos is in full swing, one of the unintended consequences of Covid which has left Thailand desperate for cash. It’s possible that a national referendum could be held on the subject next year but, more likely, parliament will simply pass legislation to amend or replace the hostile law of 1935.

Converting a visa
The O/A retirement visa issued by embassies abroad is unpopular because of the stiff insurance requirements which also apply at renewal or extension stage. The most popular alternative route is a visa exempt (30 days on arrival) followed by conversion at immigration to non-O and then one year extension (15 months in all). No insurance at any stage, as of now.

Jewelry on display
The large number of cases of tourists wandering along the promenade at 3 am and being shocked when a transvestite gang steals their necklace, inevitably worth a fortune, has set off alarm bells in some insurance quarters. An Indian insurer adds the stipulation that, “disinclination to adopt sensible measures to safeguard personal items shall be a reason for disqualification of the claim.” Indeed.

Arrival numbers jump
Foreign arrivals at airports and borders are almost topping 30,000 a day. The biggest problem for the future is a shortage of flights which reflects airlines’ concern that rising inflation and various consequences of the Ukraine war may mean that the success story may be short-lived. Some estimates say that holidays abroad have doubled in cost since 2019.

Explanation of Covid
North Korea certainly has a knack of coming up with the unexpected. Their press bureau now claims that the virus has been deliberately spread by balloons launched by the unspeakable imperialists which are tainted with disease. An earlier report claimed that the explanation of Covid was from outer space. Sounds like a good idea for a movie.

Border security breached
A Lao national who was arrested by Pattaya police for theft did have a passport but without any stamps of any kind. When questioned, he said he had never been through an immigration checkpoint for 15 years but always relied on swimming across a river five minutes after the patrol boat had chugged past the area. He said he had saved a small fortune in fees.

Cheap Charlie’s
Good reports about the most recent cafe in Jomtien soi 5 which is especially popular with expats looking for farang meals at competitive prices. The parent branch in Soi Buakhao where the Brits hang out. Cheap Charlie proves that you can still be popular in spite of all the problems currently being faced by the tourist industry as a whole.

Opening a bank account
It’s common knowledge that foreigners wanting to open a Thai bank account may have problems these days. Some visa agents have the right contacts. Foreigners will have to take out insurance to cover the account which will push up the initial costs. Reports suggest that Pattaya is throwing up more issues than either Bangkok or Phuket.

Politics ahead
If, as expected, the opposition Pheu Thai party wins the most seats in the next general election, the position of prime minister would still need to be ratified by the Senate whose 250 members were all appointed by the current administration. Could be fireworks ahead. The next election should take place in the first quarter of next year.

90-day exemptions
The only foreigners who do not need to obey the 90 days reporting are permanent residents (red book holders with a different system) and holders of the four-year high-tech visa used mainly by computer professionals in sunrise industries. It is also being promised that the new 10-year visas, not yet finalized, will carry the exemption but must record their address annually.