Gambling in Thailand – Casinos to be legalized ?? Apart from horse racing and the official state lottery, gambling is prohibited in Thailand. According to official sources, casinos will soon become legal.
Casino Law in Thailand
Different forms of gaming are categorically prohibited by the 1935 Gambling Act.
- Casino games like roulette and slot machines carry a maximum THB 5000 fine and a maximum three-year prison sentence.
- Gambling offenses including raffles, bingo, etc. typically result in a THB 1000 fine and a year in prison.
- The Playing Cards Act of 1943 forbids the manufacture, sale, and possession of playing cards without authorization.
- Those who are caught gambling with or without the use of gambling equipment will be penalized.
- Any sort of card gambling, even when there is no money exchanged, carries severe penalties.
Despite rigorous Thai laws. Bangkok is home to many underground casinos. They typically operate in the basements of buildings like offices, apartments, and shopping centers.
Popular Casinos in Cambodian border neutral zone
There is a popular neutral zone bordering Thailand and Cambodia. There are many start class Resorts with Casinos in the Neutral Zone. The neutral zone along the Cambodian border is around a 3-hour drive. Many Thai Nationals as well as Tourists visit this zone to play Casino.
The visa procedure is also quite easy, with on-arrival visas being granted at the border. In fact, you don’t need to visit the visa office either to get the Visa stamped as a traveler mentions in his comment on TripAdvisor. Quote “The hotel sorted out my Cambodian visa for me. I never bothered going to Cambodian immigration but paid 1700 baht all-inclusive for this service. In hindsight, I was overcharged a bit but they did hand deliver my passport with visa back to the pontoon table! I got my exit stamp when leaving with zero issues.”
Logic & Reason Behind the Move to Legalise Casinos
The government of Thailand expects between 5 and 15 million tourists to arrive this year. Before the COVID Pandemic, tourism attracted up to 40 million visitors and brought in more than $60 billion in revenue, making up as much as a fifth of the kingdom’s GDP. Thailand’s battered tourism industry is struggling to rebuild. Source: Al Jazeera
The Thai government sees this as a means of promoting tourism and accelerating the post-pandemic economic recovery.
Thai lawmakers understood they needed to establish licensing guidelines and supporting regulations after learning that Singapore’s World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands resorts increased the city-state’s economy by 14.5%.
Thailand Legalized Cannabis
Thailand legalized cannabis in June of this year. The new law seems to give Thailand what is arguably the most lenient marijuana policy in the entire world.
As quoted by the BBC. “It is also about business. Mr. Kruesopon (a pioneering entrepreneur who helped persuade the government to change its approach) estimates the marijuana business will generate $10bn (£8.1bn) in its first three years. but could earn a lot more from cannabis tourism, where people come to Thailand specifically for therapies and treatments using marijuana extracts“.
Casinos to be legalized
The House committee looking into the viability of building entertainment centers has determined that Thailand could support five casinos, one in each of its five regions.
The aim of this move is,
- to generate income,
- collect taxes from the complex,
- reduce illegal casinos, slot machines, and online gambling,
A general outline of the law has been proposed by the Committee.
- A 30% Taxation
- Not to allow minors under Age 20
- Foreigners only need to provide their passports to enter Thai casinos.
- Thai gamblers would have to present their identity card, details about their employment, their source of income, their financial situation, a savings account statement, and any financial credits.