Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The reasons are many, from the eternally warm weather to vivacious nightlife. However, there is one thing foreigners are confused about when traveling to this exotic country – gambling. Going to the casino is one of the things westerners see as the ultimate part of every vacation. Thai government tried to find a compromise on this matter by allowing one type of gambling to be legal and ban all the others. To find out what exactly is going on, and whether you should take a chance of gambling in Thailand, keep reading.
Is gambling in Thailand legal?
This would be the crucial question with a split answer – yes and no. Only two forms of gambling are legal: lottery and horse racing. Thai lottery is sponsored by the government and is drawn twice a month. This was supposed to assure citizens that the betting is safe and free of any mishandlings and alterations. There is also an underground version of the Thai lottery that generates the same proceedings as the official one. Betting on horses is also legal even though it’s considered to be straight-out gambling that can cause addiction like any other form. Still, in Bangkok, there are two hippodromes where you can place bets without breaking any laws.
This should clear any doubt about the legality of gambling. The reason behind government decision to prohibit gambling lies in the fact that it goes against Thai religion, Buddhism, which defines playing games as sin. Don’t let this fool you. Thai people are religious but they also find betting to be fun with some statistics claiming that over 60% of the population engaged in some sort of gambling during 2017. The vast majority of them are young people aged between 19 and 25 years of age.
Despite the full ban the government imposed on gambling, it is possible to find some brick-and-mortar casinos in Thailand, but indulging in playing is not recommended since it can put you in a world of trouble with the notoriously strict Taiwanese judicial system. If you’re caught playing in the casino, you’ll spend one year in jail. Your winnings will be seized and you would have to pay a fine. Don’t play or you might end up taking a lot longer vacation then you originally planned.
There is no explicit ban on online casinos in Thailand, but many consider it also illegal. The government seems to be turning the blind eye to this type of gambling and Thai citizens, as well as tourists, are taking advantage of it. From time to time government officials would close down a couple of online gambling sites, but these occurrences are rare. To bypass the restrictions, online gambling sites use overseas hosting leaving the government with their hands tied.
The truth is Taiwanese like to gamble despite the prohibition (or maybe due to it?) and swarm online casinos day and night. Just like everywhere else a vast variety of games are available, from dice, poker, blackjack, roulette, and slots. You can check out many different games on casinoroller88. However, Thai people are not very keen on playing card games as much as betting on sports events, specifically football. Tourists, on the other hand, play traditional card games the most.
Online casino bonuses
Online casinos available in Thailand use the same selling tactics as any other around the world. To attract new players, they offer real-money sign-up bonuses. Gamblers can use this to place bets and collect the winnings. Furthermore, online casinos will often double the deposits of newly joined members attracting even more people to join.
Like in every business online casinos are competing among themselves offering free money and fat bonuses. Aside from this, newcomers are offered to practice their gambling skills and intuitions without putting on any money on the table. Many use this opportunity to learn or to brush up their playing expertise.
Even though gambling is officially banned, many Thai celebrities are promoting gambling sites in a very peculiar way. Putting a straightforward commercial on Instagram or Facebook page will be ludicrous, so female stars came up with a creative way to market gambling. Thai stars would write the name of a gambling website with lipstick on different body parts, mostly cleavage and legs, and share photos on their social media platforms.
Finally, the Thai government reacted with a huge crackdown back in 2018 arresting thousands of celebrities and public figures from all walks of life. Online marketing of gambling sites was nonexistent for a while only to be back again. Until the next government action.
The future of gambling
Gambling is prohibited in Thailand, never let this slip your mind if visiting this country. True, online casinos are not expressly prohibited, but they are still considered illegal. If you decide to play in Thailand avoid any underground casinos and just play online. It’s highly unlikely that the police are going to conduct raids going from one hotel room to the other to check if you’re playing. It’s the safest way of gambling. Some hardcore gamblers, mostly foreigners, even went to the neighboring country of Laos where land-based casinos are legal. It can be a hassle if you’re on vacation to travel just so you can gamble, so sticking with online casinos might be your best bet (pun intended).
Don’t get your hopes up thinking that the Thai government will loose the chains on casinos in any foreseeable future. On the opposite, they are working on finding the ways to ban gambling altogether, or at least impose tighter restrictions. Despite the enormous potential tax revenue of an estimated 3 billion dollars, the Thai administration stays firm on its standing that it will not have that kind of disgraceful activity on their land. This includes online casinos.
Even with all the restrictions and crackdowns, the Thai government is always three steps behind casinos. It would be impossible to ban VPN, for example. To sum it up, gambling in Thai will be forever present online and underground. Will it ever be legal? Probably not. It will stay in that gray area of the law, illegal but accessible.