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The Legalization of Casinos and Online Gambling in Thailand

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The Legalization of Casinos and Online Gambling in Thailand

Thailand has become an extremely popular tourist destination for its beautiful stretches of coastline and stunning temples. For some, areas like Bangkok have also become synonymous with an almost “anything goes” atmosphere. With this reputation for wild partying, you may expect gambling to be perfectly legal in the country. However, Thailand frowns upon almost all types of online gambling and casinos are in fact illegal in the country.

Despite the restrictions, online providers like SlotV offer a way for the Thai population to gamble via the internet.

Is Any Gambling Legal in Thailand?

The majority of gambling activities are illegal in Thailand. This includes sports betting and physical casino as well as online gambling. Even though the law doesn’t specifically state online gambling to be illegal, all gambling activities are regulated by the Gambling Act 1935, which prohibits the Thai population from playing all betting and casino games.

As a result of this countrywide prohibition, there are very few legal gambling activities available to citizens. There is even a law that makes it illegal for people to own more than 120 playing cards.

Outside of the strict regulations, a couple of forms of legal gambling do exist. There is a national lottery and betting is allowed at a handful of racecourses in the country.

Thailand’s Gambling Landscape

Despite gambling being prohibited, it is actually flourishing in Thailand. Thai citizens looking to place a wager in a casino or on sporting events have turned to online gambling and, in some cases, local bookmakers working illegally.

The penalty for gambling in Thailand is a fine of 1000THB and up to one year in prison. However, it is rare to see people being prosecuted since many local police officials overlook gambling offences outside of the occasional raid. The most well-known raid on gamblers came during the 2010 world cup where over 1,500 citizens were arrested for gambling offences.

Such raids do their part in showing the government is serious about cracking down on gambling but they seem to have done little to stop the Thai public from taking part.

By keeping it quiet and using IP-masking services, a large number of Thai citizens have been able to use internet gambling sites without penalty. A lot of providers even offer the option of depositing and withdrawing funds in Thai Baht.

According to The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society in Thailand, over 1 billion THB passes through online gambling websites every single year.

Will Gambling be Legalized in Thailand?

As of 2020, gambling in Thailand is illegal outside of the national lottery and a very small number of horse racing venues and this doesn’t look set to change anytime soon. The aforementioned Ministry has started a campaign this year that aims to block online gambling sites in the country and there seems to have been a recent crackdown on internet gambling.

The only hope for the Thai gamblers is that the country may eventually wish to take advantage of the huge financial benefits of making gambling legal in the country. A study showed over 100 billion Thai Baht could be gained every year in tax revenues from gambling if it were to be made legal.

In addition, the internet’s role in the increasing difficulty of policing gambling is a factor many hope will see Thailand’s government relax the laws eventually. After all, it makes sense when you take into account the cost of cracking down on illegal gambling plus the huge potential for tax revenues.

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