In our last article we wrote about Poipet, the town on the Thai/Cambodian border which hosts some of the region’s best casinos. It’s a sort of tax free zone between the two countries at which wealthy Thais and other tourists can play Blackjack, Roulette and Craps to their hearts content in the knowledge that what is legal here, is not in Thailand. Where once the Cambodian refugees flooded across this border, now the locals provide the services for those from Thailand.
Thailand’s attitude to gambling and it’s location in this occasionally tense part of the world means its borders offer an ideal location for what one might call ‘cottage-industry’ casinos. On its western border is Myanmar (Burma), a country which may now be showing the first signs of emerging from fifty or so years of a brutal military regime. That regime has resulted in massive refugee camps building up inside Thailand where the countries meet.
There are more than a few border crossing points between the two countries and the one which is of interest to us is the sea crossing between Ranong on the Thai side and Victoria Point inside Myanmar. This is a popular visa stamping location for expats and other tourists who enjoy not only the boat trip between the two locations, but also the Andaman Club Casino and hotel which sits on an island midway between the two countries.
Those who are happy to pay a bit more for their visa service can hand over their passport to the appropriate people and spend a few hours or even days at this resort. For those who like a few hours of Poker it’s an ideal solution – there are gaming rooms and slot machines here but of course you may find your trip cost more than you bargained for if you have a run of bad luck.
With the gradual and predicted opening up of Myanmar for commercial opportunities we may well see more ventures such as this as the Myanmar authorities look to entice foreign investors to the country. You will see very little refugee activity in this area as the sea crossing is much more difficult than using the numerous jungle trails.