Thailand Contemplates Casino Legalization After Century-Long Ban

Thailand’s long-standing ban on gambling, enforced by The Gambling Act of 1935, might soon see a shift. For nearly a century, even activities such as owning over 120 playing cards without the government’s nod were prohibited under The Playing Cards Act of 1943. Although horse race betting and the state-supported Thai lottery remained exceptions.

Historically, Thailand once thrived on gambling dens as revenue sources. These dens, however, were closed down to curb crime and rampant gambling-induced bankruptcy.

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In a potential change of heart, the Thai government has shown interest in the casino industry. The Thai House of Representatives has shown support for a casino resort proposal. This move is grounded in the belief of the potential economic benefits the casino industry might bring.

A recent Bangkok Post report unveils that a parliamentary committee is evaluating casino legalization. They suggest the establishment of five casino resorts in prime locations including Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, and Phuket.

Online casinos might also find a place in this renewed framework. This inclusion would provide Thai citizens with varied gaming options. Notably, several online platforms, as highlighted by B2C, are poised to draw in customers with attractive perks, including hefty welcome bonuses.

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Casino & Sports

With the government’s inclination to invite private investment, potential casino operators must gear up for a strict regulatory landscape. Some proposed guidelines include a minimum gambling age of 20 years and financial stability checks. Moreover, a 30% tax imposition on casinos is under discussion.

If implemented, this legalization could also usher in a boom for the crypto market, given Thailand’s regulated crypto trading environment. The potential worth of Thailand’s gambling sector ranges between $9 billion to $12 billion.

Furthermore, by legalizing and regulating gambling, Thailand might curtail the rise of illicit betting hubs, thereby reducing associated crimes. For context, just last year, Bangkok witnessed a police crackdown on an illegal gambling operation run by Chinese nationals, grossing ฿100 million monthly.

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