Will Legalizing Casinos in Thailand Make a Difference?
While Thailand remains as one of few Asian nations that outlaw casinos, serious discussions regarding the legalization of casinos are currently on discussion tables. In January 2021, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha confirmed that he is open to the idea of holding public discussions that would weigh the advantages and disadvantages of legalizing the establishments of casinos, if doing so will curtail the growth of illegal gambling in the country. Apparently, the Prime Minister is concerned about reports that illegal gambling dens in the country are actually profitable sources of extra revenues for local politicians and police officials.
In line with PM Prayut’s affirmation, he also approved the organization of a 10-member committee that will look into the illegal gambling investigations being conducted by state officials particularly in Nonthaburi of the Greater Bangkok district. While the illegal casinos are being raided and shutdown, they eventually resume operations after the related fines and penalties have been settled.
Thailand’s Short-Lived Period of Legalized Casino Gambling
Actually, there was a time during the 1930’s when casino gambling was legal but only for wealthy citizens. However, the country’s bout with legal casino gambling was short-lived as the Gambling Act was revised in 1935. The revision outlawed casino gambling and declared that only lotteries and horse race betting were to remain as the only forms of legal gambling.
The long and short of it was that there was lack of control and regulation over casinos operators that gambling led to the deterioration of the quality of life in many Thai communities. Many Thai citizens fell into gambling debts that caused them to lose not only money and property but also their dignity, as some were forced to submit themselves and members of their family into slavery.
According to a spokesperson for the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), of which PM Prayut is the Chairman, the main question that the Prime Minister wants answered is if the majority of the Thai people will consider legalized casino gambling as morally acceptable.
Recent Surveys Revealed that the Majority of Thai’s Population Engage in Gambling Activities
The latest survey conducted by the Centre for Gambling Studies and Centre for Social and Business Development showed nearly 60% of Thailand’s citizens have engaged in some form of gambling at least once during the past years.
The study, which was conducted in coordination with the
Economics and Research Centre for Social and Business Development of Chulalongkorn University estimated that 30 million people in Thailand are zealous gamblers, but mostly wagering on government-backed lotteries. About 1.6% of those who responded to the survey indicated preference for online gambling, particularly sports betting and online casino gaming; of which บาคาร่า (baccarat) is a huge favorite to about 45% of those who indicated preference for casino games. Only a fifth of survey respondents admitted to gambling with slots in online casinos.
Where Do Most Thai Citizens Gamble?
It’s a known fact that casinos located in the border towns of Laos and Cambodia, rely heavily on Thai customers. Yet even if legal casinos are established in the country, Thai citizens have discovered the convenience of taking their gambling activities online.
After all, Thai gamblers discriminate in their choice of online gambling websites by playing only in sites regulated by jurisdictions that issued them the license to operate online sportsbooks and online casinos.
Moreover the igaming industry fosters the development of technological advancements that would ensure the integrity of online gambling games and betting services.
Many of today’s online casinos and sports betting sites use Virtual Private Networks (VPN) as protection against hackers and as shield from the prying eyes of Internet Service Providers. The VPN technology encrypts all communication between customers and operators. At the UFABet website, customers simply สมัครบาคาร่า (apply for baccarat game) or สมัครเว็บบอล (apply for football betting line/s)