Thailand Making Progress in Legalizing Gambling: All You Need to Know

In a recent announcement, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha is taking into consideration the likelihood of lifting the ban on gambling activities in the country as a potential solution in the rising number of coronavirus spreads that have already caused 67 million casualties.

An Inevitable Outbreak

Recently, Thailand is having a sudden rise of coronavirus infections and government officials are taking the blame for the increasing number of illegal gambling places and casinos near the borders of Thailand.

Unauthorized gambling is prohibited in Thailand and offenders are subjected to the hands of local authorities to implement the law. However, during the recent press briefing of Thailand’s  Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), Prayut mentioned that by legalization of gambling activities in Thailand, it could lessen the further outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

It was confirmed that Prayut will be open for public dialogues regarding the pros and cons of the legalization of gambling while also admitting that the government cannot contain anymore the problems regarding the growing illegal gambling activities.

Illicit Crossings in Thailand Borders

The surprising increase of coronavirus infections recently can be associated with the illegal border crossing of locals in and out of Thailand to gamble in Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia where gambling is less restricted. Since December of 2020, many people are crossing these borders illegally that possibly brought the new virus to the country and resulted in the sudden spike of coronavirus infections.

The spreading is happening in 63 provinces, adding to the total of 22,000 additional cases in the country. The gambling dens near the provinces of Chanthaburi and Rayong have been blamed for the 83 cases of the coronavirus in the nation’s borders. 98,000 residents were arrested under the Gambling Act between 2018 and 2020 alone.

At present, most of these illegal gambling activities are being done under the table. This is the reason why the gambling revenue of the country rose despite the legal status of the industry in the country. Most of these gamblers are detained, however they were never convicted due to the corruption prevalent in the police force.

The illegal activities of these gambling syndicates are being tolerated and even protected by the local authorities  and are operating under the noses of the Thai government. The Gambling Act however does not mention anything about พนันออนไลน์, so many gamblers are confident in taking it online to wager on foreign betting websites via VPN.

Potential Hurdles

Many advocates have suggested legalizing gambling in the past but always rejected every time because it could alter the very fabric of Thai society. The culture of Thailand is predominantly based on Buddhist values so gambling is deemed a bad habit. If the legalization of gambling could begin, it may meet many oppositions from the conservative citizens.

However, the Prime Minister of Thailand is very optimistic that it will happen anytime soon, because it may revive the economy due to its close association with tourism and could potentially attract foreign investors.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Legalization

In the press conference, he also emphasized Singapore as an example. The Marina Bay Sands is a gleaming structure in Singapore and it also houses a huge casino that attracts foreigners. The wealth of Singapore can be attributed to its strong investment in the tourism and entertainment industry.

The Marina Bay Sands can be a good model to Thai society and it is a perfect opportunity to make the Thai traditionalists change their perception about gambling. By minimizing the negative and accentuating the positive, the Thai economy will reopen.

As of now, the closest thing the Thais have for gambling is the state-owned lottery and horse race betting which are both legal in the country.

Final Words

The issue of legalization of gambling in Thailand is a lengthy discussion that needs to be analyzed further to fit the standards of Thai society. However, it may serve as a litmus test of how Thai society will accept change for the better economy.

As for now, the Thai government is battling two problems: the coronavirus pandemic and illegal gambling, and now they are looking for solutions that could eliminate both problems in the equation.

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