Thailand’s gambling history goes back a long way. That is why the majority of Thai locals are avid gamblers.
In fact, a recent survey featured in Translation Royale suggests that as much as 70 percent of the adult population in Thailand gambles regularly, generating nearly €5.5 billion in revenues on an annual basis. No wonder, by the time online casinos were introduced, many active gamblers welcomed them wholeheartedly, and thus, online gambling in Thailand became well-known in a fraction of a second.
When it comes to gambling in the Kingdom of Thailand, there are a couple of things you need to be aware of and this article will communicate some of the surprising facts about online casinos and gambling overall in the land of white elephants.
- Gambling is Banned, But Football Betting is Popular
Under the Gambling Act in B.E 2478 (1935), as featured in Expat Bets, almost all forms of gambling are illegal in Thailand. Under the said law, only the national lottery and horse race betting are exempted from the country’s ban.
Other than that, the entire island is a non-gambling zone. Even playing casino games without monetary exchange is regarded as gambling by the Thai local police.
The reason why this is strictly implemented, according to Gambling Sites, is because 95 percent of the country’s population is Buddhist. Gambling in Thailand is called “abaiyamuk” or “portals of hell”, which is one of the main vices under Buddhism.
The majority of practicing Buddhists worry that they will suffer as a result of partaking in gambling. This same group of people does not combat the notion that they are also supposed to avoid gaming.
Nevertheless, some Thai locals still gamble. They may do so at an illegal casino or at the occasional ceremony or festival. Casino News Daily reported that the annual revenues generated by gambling operations are estimated to reach $6 billion.
The Asian Today article revealed that among Thai gamblers, football betting appears to be the most popular type of illegal gambling. Football betting is said to produce roughly 160 billion baht (US$5.3 billion) each year.
It is closely followed by the underground lottery which takes in 153 baht (US$5.1 billion) and the government-run lottery which generates about 150 billion baht (US$5 billion) from players.
Legal Gambling Guide supports this data when it mentioned a movie depiction where people will even travel to Bangkok just so they can participate in these kinds of activities. However, during the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, thousands of individuals were arrested in numerous raids by the local police.
- Thais Use Neteller and Skrill for Banking and Payouts
According to the website of Top 10 Casino Sites, the easiest payment method to use at a thai casino online website is an e-wallet. When it comes to this mode of payment, there is a slew of options to pick from because they have come to dominate the Internet.
The article also mentioned that Skrill and Neteller casinos are the most popular e-wallet casinos in Thailand, and they are known for their instant deposits. Moreover, e-wallets are free to sign up for, and they don’t take extra charges when you make a transaction to and from a Thai online casino.
- The Most Played Traditional Casino Game is Hi Lo
Wiki Casino Games say that prior to online casinos, there are numerous local games that have been well-known traditionally in Thailand. The undisputedly most popular local casino game is Hi Lo or “card games.” Hi Lo is also known as Sic-Bo and Tai Sai in other cultures.
Thai locals don’t have as much fondness for Western-style card games as they have for Hi Lo. The law also forbids the manufacturing, distribution, and possession of playing cards.
As a result, you cannot really purchase cards as legally and conveniently as you would in other countries. Still playing cards are available, typically as contraband.
You can get some from places along the borders like Cambodia or Laos. Those who do play cards are more interested in Pok Deng or Gao Gae.
Both of these games are like baccarat. The drawing rules are different though.
No surprise, in the survey report, which was featured in iGaming business, it was stated that Thai gamblers bet a total of 20.2 billion baht in an online casino, with baccarat being the most popular game played by 45.2% of customers. A further 27.6% of individuals had played other online card games, while 20.1% played slots online and 16.7% bet on sports.
Traditional card games are more popular among women. Those who want to play real casinos often travel to Laos or Cambodia, where gambling is legal.
- The Youngest Punter is Only 7 Years Old
World Nomads says that the legal drinking age is 20. Surprisingly, Legal Gambling Guide noted in their article that the interesting fact about Thailand is that although nearly all gambling activities are banned, there is no minimum age limit on the national lottery and horse race betting.
This may have contributed to the answer as to why Thais love to gamble so much including children. Illegal gambling facilities can be found in offices, basements, and other areas.
In the news reported in Bangkok Post, Nualnoi Trirat, the Center for Gambling Studies director, who has been studying the gambling habits of Thai people across the country since 2017, found in their study that as of October 2019, 30.42 million locals are engaged in some sort of gambling. This was an increase of 1.4 million gamblers since the research began in 2017.
In the news, Ms. Nualnoi said that over 700,000 Thais who gambled in 2019 were first-time punters and the youngest of them was only 7 years old. Of the 30.42 million Thai gamblers surveyed, 733,000, equivalent to 20% of people, were 15 to 18 years old, 3.05 million (46%) were aged 19 to 25 years, and 3.3 million gamblers (42%) were 60 or older.
- Online Casinos are Not Popular Among Thais
In a study conducted by the Center for Gambling Studies and Center for Social and Business Development of Thailand, as cited by Thailand Business News, in the past year, nearly 57 percent of the country’s adult population took part in gambling activities. Additionally, the majority of them claimed to have participated in the government-run lottery.
However, the lottery done underground ranked second among the most prevalent gambling in Thailand. Furthermore, 3.5 million people also claimed to have made wagers on sports via sports betting sites such as Betway 88 casinos that are hosted overseas but operate in the country.
Then again, according to the ASEAN Today article, playing games in a thai casino online site is not as popular among the locals as other gambling segments. The survey conducted by the Center of Gambling Studies, cited in the same article, showed that only 1.6 percent of those surveyed gambled through the Internet.
- Online Casinos in Thailand Offers Tons of Benefits
KitchenSurfing says that while many gambling enthusiasts drive back from gambling due to the fear of being charged and arrested for violation of law, the astonishing thing is that Thai online casinos offer some of the best promotional offers and bonuses to attract more gamblers. As mentioned previously, Thais are known for their love for gambling, and online casinos in Thailand cash out on this. All they have to do is sign up and get started.
As you can see, there are many debates as to why authorities in Thailand should seriously consider revising the gambling laws– especially that so many studies and surveys prove that a crowd of Thai residents are already so keen on the activity. But this is whether they’ll remain to be seen.
The law about online gambling, in particular, is also complex and there is no specific legislation covering gambling online. There are several hurdles to overcome first, both relating to social infrastructure and attitudes.
However, if the country desires to move with the times and establish its own tourism industry – this would be an obvious way to do both.