Casinos in Thailand
Why are Casinos and Gambling illegal in Thailand?
All gambling and land based casinos were banned in the gambling act of 1935. There are 2 exceptions to this, horse racing and the government national lottery numbers game.
Though it is technically illegal and the Thai Police have been making massive amounts of arrests with fines from as little as 1000 THB up to prison sentences, this has done little to stop its popularity with reports of up to 70% of Thai adults cited as regular gamblers.
This is all done underground in homes, private properties and even office spaces.
Since Thailand is the only S E Asian country to not have been colonised, many Thais are still quite new to gambling so casino favourites such as Black Jack and Roulette weren’t introduced here 100 years ago like they were to other neighboring countries.
Thailand being a hugely Chinese influnced culture due to Buddism, authorities had previously turned a blind eye to Chinese nationals in Thailand using private and illegal casinos but in recent times with increased population and popularity this has been changing. So what does this mean for tourists and the future?
Will there be any legal casinos and gambling in Thailand soon?
This is the big question. With the very sad passing of King Bhumibol, many have speculated that the new King Vajiralongkorn (Rama X) may well advocate a change in the law. Since it is impossible to wipe this ever growing industry out, it seems much better to control and regulate it. This would also be very profitable, not only for the government but for Thai people too.
Casinos and gambling are a worldwide multi billion dollar industry and would create a lot of jobs and generate taxes for the country. Right now, the only safe and legal way to gamble in a casino for a tourist or expat is to travel across the borders in places like Poipet or Trat for Cambodia or the Laos and Myanmar borders which all offer international standard legal casinos.
The issue for most tourists not familiar or popular places that also require a great deal of traveling so a change in the law would certainly mean a change in the landscape for tourists and tourism in Thailand. Casinos in Thailand would appear in top Hotels and brand new dedicated complexes would be built quickly in the most popular destinations like Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui as well as established ex pat colonies in Pattaya and Chiang Mai.
So how likely is this to happen? Well whilst there is no official plans being released by the Thai authorities, a lot of news authorities and analysts are predicting a change very soon.