Gambling has not always been illegal in Laos, which is not the same with neighboring states like China. The country used to allow gambling before a law was passed illegalizing the activity. This saw the collapse of towns like Boten, which used to thrive through gambling.
Furthermore, it saw multiple casinos abandoned throughout Laos as owners did not want to ruffle feathers with the Laotian government. However, that changed suddenly in 2007 after a 99-year lease of 10,000 hectares of Laos land was given to Zhao Wei through his company Golden Kapok.
The lease allowed Zhao Wei to operate as a foreign national for the specified period. This marked the beginning of the popular Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone, the only area in Laos where gambling is legal. 3000 hectares out of the total land leased was kept aside as a duty-free area. It is on this land that one of the legal casinos in Laos, King Romans Casino, is situated.
Gambling nowadays in Laos
Currently, gambling in Laos is booming, especially in the Special Economic Zones, where the King Romans Casino operates duty-free. King Romans Casino is one of the gambling sites owned by Zhao Wei and among the most extravagant casinos in Laos.
The establishment employs mostly Chinese nationals with only a few Laotians. Furthermore, King Romans Casino accepts both Chinese yuan and Thai baht currency options and provides players with some of the best gambling games. Another casino available in the country is Savan Vegas Hotel & Casino, situated in Nongdeune Village.
The casino is approximately 3km from the Thai boundary and has been operational since 2009. Savan Vegas casino alone covers around 5000 square meters, with most of its games being slot machines.
The final casino within the Special Economic Zone is Dansavanh Nam Ngum Resort Casino, situated 60 km north of Vientiane. The casino harbors a golf resort, a nightclub, and a restaurant. Since it is a mid-sized casino, players should only expect a couple of slot machines. These are the legal casinos acknowledged by the Laotian government.