Rationalizing Why Thailand Should Legalize Online Gambling
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s apprehension that illegal gambling dens and activities are flourishing throughout the country is not without basis. Despite the resources being spent by the government to conduct crackdowns on illegal gambling operations, the Centre of Gambling Studies (CGS) found out from surveys that around 1.6% of the respondents engage in online gambling. While the percentage seems minimal, the CGS study also reported that in that particular aspect alone, as much as THB20.2 billion million were wagered online by avid Thai gamblers.
Thai Gamblers Now Prefer Gambling Online
Actually, Thai locals are finding it more convenient to gamble via the Internet, as there are now Asia-based operators offering payment systems via local bank transfers. Smartphone and mobile applications have made mobile gambling possible. Add to that the fact that a more secure system of communication by way of Virtual Private Network, is in use to shield all information sent via the Internet.
Thailand’s Ministry of Information and Communication Technologyhas instructed the Internet Service Providers to block local internet gambling activities by denying access to online casinos. However, since the data requested and accessed by local mobile gamblers occur as VPN encrypted messages, Thai ISPs are unable to decipher communications between VPN supported servers and online gambling sites.
Upon learning from the CGS study that overall, the estimated size of Thai’s gambling public is about 57% of the country’s 70 million population, which is roughly about 30.4 million locals, PM Chan-o-cha announced of plans to hold public discussions about legalizing casino gambling in the country.
Why Legalizing Casino Gambling is Not the Solution
There has been little support for the proposed legalization of casino gambling, since not many believe that doing so will stop Thai locals from placing wagers in online casinos and virtual sportsbooks.
Although the country allows gambling by way of lottery, a recent survey by the Thai Farmers Research Center revealed that about one-third of Bangkok’s lottery players prefer to purchase lottery tickets offered by online gambling sites or underground outlets prefer the online lotteries because of the flexible terms that offer more opportunities of winning a prize.
The same survey revealed that every month, residents in the Thai capital spend as much as THB8 billion. Based on the findings, it’s apparent that even with lottery the government has to compete with illicit illegal lottery operators.
That alone is an indication that even if Thai lawmakers amend the country’s Gambling Act simply allowing Thai citizens to gamble in the country’s casinos gambling, it will not yield the expected impact. After all, the country’s gambling public feel more secure and find it more practical to gamble while in the comfortable surrounding of their home.
Popularity of Foreign-Licensed Remote Gambling Sites
There are several reasons why the market share of เว็บพนันออนไลน์ ถูกกฎหมาย or online gambling is increasing in Thailand, albeit deemed as included among the so-called illegal gamling activities. Majority of Thai’s online gamblers use only gambling platforms regulated by international gaming regulators, including the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR).
The Philippines has in fact made it the country’s business to license and regulate gambling operations of numerous remote gambling platforms offering online casino gaming and sports betting products in neighboring Asian countries. In light of the Philippine’s success in this segment, other Asian countries like Cambodia and Vietnam have taken steps to legalize online gambling. That way, their respective governments can collect their fair share of the profits gained by by remote gambling sites operating in their respective jurisdictions.
It would be wiser for Thai lawmakers therefore, to legalize online gambing by formulating guidelines that would ensure proper licensing as well as monitoring of revenues derived from the millions of Thai gamblers who place wagers in their site. Thailand’s land-based casinos can even benefit from legal Internet based gambling if the country will adopt the U.S. online gambling model of tethering online platform systems to that of a land-based casino.