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In pursuit of development: Casinos and local government in Northern Thailand

This thesis takes as it starting point the Government of Thailand Ninth National Economic and Social Development Plan (2002-2006). Among many provisions and proposals the Plan gives special emphasis to encouraging local participation, decentralising government, boosting the capacity of local administration to undertake a wide range of responsibilities, as important steps in the economic and social development of Thai land. However, the Plan does not offer recommendations for the legislative provisions required for its proposals to happen, providing the candidate with the opportunity to develop a case study in applying the Ninth Plan to Chiang Mai, the main local government administrative unit in Northern Thailand. This study examines the Ninth Plan's proposals for participation, decentralisation, good governance. Before outlining the proposals developed by the Chiang Mai Municipality to the Ninth Plan, the structure and provisions of local government in Thailand are set out, giving details of the continuing reliance of the local municipality on central government. One of the major gaps in the Ninth Plan is on how the decentralised relations between central and local government should be changed. The case study introduces the discussion on casinos and considers the economic, social and policy issues in Chiang Mai, using Chiang Rai as a control group. The reality of gambling in Thailand is set out concisely and serves to show the extent of the present incidence of illegal gambling. This is related to the Ninth Plan's concerns with good governance and the extent of corruption in the Thai public service. The illegal gambling takes place because of backhanders and payouts and it is considerable. This is building up part of the case for the serious consideration of introducing a casino - make them legal and with the financial revenues channelled into appropriate developments and the social and policy problems dealt with effectively. The findings of the survey contain both structured and unstructured sections. The structured questions invite responses from decision makers and opinion leaders from both Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai on economic, social and moral, and the political and policy issues associated the possible introduction of a casino. The unstructured part of the survey does shed some useful additional light on attitudes to casinos. There are some interesting contrasts in the responses from Chiang Mai and from Chiang Rai. While there is general agreement about the economic benefits, there are contrasting responses on the remaining questions with Chiang Rai respondents showing a much more conservative response. Chiang Mai respondents are aware of the many issues and the possible risks, but are more open to the positive impacts of casinos. Responses are considered according to several different demographic groupings by age, gender, location, occupation, income and so on. This study proposes that to fulfil the proposals of the Ninth Plan, a power of general competence and good governance be granted to local government to proceed with their own solutions, particularly those to do with carrying out the intentions of the Ninth Plan's economic and social development strategies. The Plan also lacks details in the idea of using participation while the decentralisation is not quite clear in terms of local and central government's roles.
Type of thesis
Tanawichai, S. (2005). In pursuit of development: Casinos and local government in Northern Thailand (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13208
The University of Waikato
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