Gambling is rampant across the territory of Thailand however, on paper, gambling in almost any shape or form is illegal in the country. The situation is unclear in terms of online gambling because of the lack of specific laws pertaining to Internet casinos.
In reality, Thais enjoy gambling, even high-schoolers are known to engage in casual forms of gambling. Also, many players can be seen enjoying online casino games or poker in Internet cafes across the country.
Thailand’s Gambling Act of Bf.E. 2478 states the following:
“Permission is forbidden to organize, play or gamble in games specified in LIST A annexed to this Act or similar games or any other bad games which the responsible Minister has issued a Ministerial Regulation naming as additional items of prohibition.”
This means that the only legal forms of gambling are:
- Two horse race tracks available in Bangkok (Royal Turf Club, Royal Bangkok Sports Club)
- Thai lottery (State-run lottery with bi-monthly draws on the 1st and 16th of each month)
The legality of other sorts of gambling
All other gambling forms are illegal, and individuals can face up to 1 year of imprisonment and/or a fine of ฿1000 (roughly USD$32). Since there are no Thai-based Internet casinos, Thais turn to foreign online casinos. It is estimated that Thais place billions of USD$ in bets on an annual basis across online casinos, sportsbooks, and poker rooms.
This does not mean that one can’t get in trouble for gambling at foreign online casinos. But, if the player is careful, the chances of facing legal repercussions are virtually zero. As long as the player keeps their activities to themselves, they minimize the risk of someone reporting them to the authorities, which should be more than enough to keep the players safe when playing online.
The Thailand government forces ISPs to IP-block a good portion of foreign online casinos, but many of them are still available for access and serve thousands of Thai customers on a daily basis.