THAILAND’S BETTING LAWS: HISTORY AND EFFECTS TO THE SIAMESE COMMUNITY

Brief Background of the Law

            Thailand had a booming betting industry long before the Gambling Act of 1935 was passed. Do you ever wonder why some Asian movies depict gambling as far as the olden times? It says olden because gambling started in an era that uses traditional gambling methods. Some scenes even show aggression, violence, and of course, drama. It could be that there’s half truth on such scenes. It took so many attempts from the government’s side to regulate such activity, which is considered to be morally evil to some before it was successfully established under a royal decree. The decree punishes anyone with at least 1,000 Baht fine and one year imprisonment once they are caught red-handed.  After some time, another set of laws was approved namely the Playing Cards Act of 1943 and Anti-Money Laundering Act of 1999 that intensifies more restrictions on the business. The stern government forced a lot of land-based gaming houses to seize its operation. As a result, Thailand is made known for having the strictest laws against betting.

The Effectivity of the Implementation

As of today, only two games were allowed to operate under the jurisdiction of the Thai government out from more than 100 well-known betting games played in the Siamese society and these are lottery and horse race wagering. These games were legalized and monitored in which lottery is only operated twice a month. The government ensured monopoly over these facilities to make it as the sole agent that collects profit from people’s betting habits. This anti-betting action of the government was instigated from the opposers of the business which asserts that betting impoverished the nation, causes surge in crimes, and inhibits economic development; and banning of the “social evil” is the only way to progress.

Despite of the strict laws, some crafty Siamese were still able to conduct illegal betting under the police’s radar through underground parlors and online platforms. Since the restrictive law only covers the mortar-and-brick gaming houses, the game of chances that were operated online are slowly gaining popularity in the community.

Growth in Betting Population

The Thai community prefers the physical games wherein 57% of its population were proven to have participated in betting games for the past few years despite of the restrictions based on recent study report conducted by Thailand’s Center for Gambling Studies and Center for Social and Business Development. It was found that primarily of them were  men who started the activity as young as 15 years old. Also, it shows that some of these 30million Thai bettors have played in government-run lotteries which has a recent annual revenue of 150.5 billion Baht. For this reason, the government is not banning it.

Jili Gaming as the Solution

Due to these regulations and heavy fines, some Siamese chose to play in foreign-based online betting games with wide gaming selection through hiding their IP address from the government’s cybersecurity using a VPN. To address this issue, Jili Gaming was created to offer a superb gaming platform to the Thai gamers. The platform is presented in their own language to cater well the locals.