Simon’s Guide to Gambling in Thailand

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Gambling in Thailand is prohibited, nevertheless in 2011, there were around 170 illegal casinos in the capitol, Bangkok

Gambling in Thailand

Legal gambling in Thailand is limited to the National Lottery and horse betting on the thoroughbred tracks in Bangkok. All other forms of gambling are strictly prohibited and players caught gambling face financial penalties and even prison sentences.

The piece of legislation prohibiting gambling is the Gambling Act of B.E. 2478 of 1935. This divides types of gambling into List A and List B games. The List A consist of  games that include wagering on animal games that are considered torture, like cock or dogfights and other blood-sports. Some casino games, like Roulette and slot machines are also included on this list. List B is basically everything else, like Bingo, raffles, sports betting and such. Penalties for List A games are considerably higher – they can go up to 5000 Bahts of monetary fines ($140.85) and 3 years in prison*. For List B games, like sports betting, the maximum punishment is 1000 Baht ($28.17) and a prison sentence of 1 year.

There are other acts pertinent to gambling in some way, such as the Anti-Money Laundering Act, B.E. 2542 of 1999 and the Playing Cards Act, B.E. 2486 of 1943, which criminalises the unauthorised manufacturing, selling and owning of playing cards.

The bottomline is, the legal climate for gambling in Thailand is rather stormy. That, however doesn’t stop a huge percentage of Thais from gambling in one way or another. Illegal gambling dens and bookies are prevalent across the country, although as usually, these are not the safest options to choose. The illegal gambling market is so huge in the country, that they even have an illegal version of the state lottery, which is a countrywide business and its popularity well exceeds its legal counterpart’s.

Although online gambling is not specifically mentioned in the regulation, it nevertheless falls within the scope of it. However, it’s extremely rare that the authorities fine individual players who partake in Poker, sports betting or other kinds of gambling online from the privacy of their homes, using foreign platforms.

The government has an internet censoring system in place as well, which blocks some of the foreign gambling sites, although not nearly all of them.

 

*Source: Criminal Law in Thailand, LXXXVII: Gambling

 

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Casino gambling in Thailand

 

Online casino gambling in Thailand: illegal, but players are not prosecuted

 

Even though there is no legal casino gambling in Thailand, casino type games seem to be rather popular. It is estimated, that in Bangkok alone, there were about 170 illegal gambling dens with approximately 180 to 200 Billion Thai Baht ( $6 Billion to $6.6 Billion) wagered through them in 2011*. Another way Thais circumvent the gambling ban in force is through foreign casinos. A Cambodian town near the Thai border, Poipet for example has a whole casino industry built around Thai nationals who frequently cross the border to play.

There are no specific mention of online casinos in the legislation, nevertheless it applies to them just the same. This means individual players if caught, are penalised by the authorities. However, this rarely happens to players who use these platforms from the privacy of their homes.

 

 

*Source: Illegal Casinos in Thailand (Havocsope Global Black Market Information)

 

 

Bingo in Thailand

 

Online Bingo in Thailand: illegal, but players are not prosecuted

 

Although several forms of gambling are very popular in Thailand, Bingo doesn’t seem to be one of them. It is, nevertheless illegal both online and offline. However, if a Thai resident were to play it on a foreign platform on his PC, he would almost certainly not get fined.

 

 

 

Poker in Thailand

 

Online Poker in Thailand: illegal, but players are not prosecuted

 

Playing Poker, both online and offline is prohibited, as well as nearly all other forms of gambling in Thailand. Most of the major international operators like PokerStars and Party Poker, however are still seem to be accepting players from the country.

In fact, several sources suggest, that despite the prohibitions Thailand is such a nice place to play online Poker, that several professional Poker players relocated there to pursue their careers after the US banned online gambling*.

 

*Source: Thailand ‘Heaven on Earth’ for U.S. Online Grinder Westmorland

 

 

Sports Betting in Thailand

 

Online sports Betting in Thailand: illegal, but players are not prosecuted

 

All forms of sports betting, except for the horse races held on one of the two horse race tracks in Bangkok, the Royal Turf Club and the Royal Bangkok Sports Club are illegal in Thailand. Nevertheless, sports betting is huge in the country. The authors of a preliminary study preceding the 2014 Football World Cup anticipated that an estimated 43.53 billion Baht would be wagered in Thailand during the event alone*. All of this, of course through illegal bookies, due to the lack of legal options. There is also a huge amount of bets being placed on more traditional games, like cockfights and Muay Thai matches.

Online sports betting has also gained great popularity in Thailand in recent years. Many of the players use online bookmakers called Asian bookies, or place their bets with well respected UK gambling firms, such as Bet365. It is of course illegal, as most all other forms of online and offline gambling in Thailand. However, casual individual players are not prosecuted.

 

 

*Source: World Cup 2014 expected to draw Bt43.53 billion from Thai gamblers

 

 

Lottery in Thailand

 

Online lottery in Thailand: legal, state monopoly, no online platform

 

Lottery is a huge sensation in Thailand. The National Lottery operates in its current form since 1933 and numbers are drawn on the first and the sixteenth of every month. The price of a ticket is 80 Baht, but it may vary depending on the seller. Despite the popularity and Thailand’s relatively good internet penetration rate, it does not have an online platform.

There is also an illegal lottery in the country, which seems to be even more popular than its official counterpart. The former runs on an estimated capital of 100 billion Baht per year, significantly more than the 76.77-billion Baht capital of the government-controlled lottery*.

 

 

*Source: “Underground Lottery” Most Reputable Bet In Thailand (Calvinayre.com)

 

 

Bitcoin Gambling in Thailand

 

Bitcoin Gambling in Thailand: illegal, but players are rarely prosecuted

 

The legal status of Bitcoin in Thailand is currently uncertain. The Central Bank issued a preliminary ruling that using the cryptocurrency was illegal because of a lack of existing laws. They didn’t outright ban it though and most Bitcoin exchanges in Thailand are still operational.

That being said, gambling online in Bitcoin is illegal, like any other currency.

 

 

 

Online gambling websites accepting players from Thailand

 

Whilst all forms of online gambling are illegal in Thailand, a large percentage of Thais do gamble online and many of the major international gambling sites accept players from the country.

The following websites accept players from Thailand.

 

bgo_casino_bonus_banner

BGO casino – accepting players from Thailand

32_red_online_casino

32 Red casino accepting players from Thailand

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32 Red online bookmaker, sports betting website accepting players from Thailand

black_lotus_casino_bonus

Black Lotus casino accepting players from Thailand

 

 

 

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This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.

 

Last updated: 2015 10. 15

 

Summary
Simon's Guide to Gambling in Thailand
Article Name
Simon's Guide to Gambling in Thailand
Description
An overview of the legal status of various forms of online and offline gambling in Thailand. Despite the blanket ban, illegal and online gambling are both thriving in the country.
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4 Responses

  1. Deepam says:

    do private lotteries run in Thailand? is it legal?

  2. Su Katima says:

    Great list. How about friendly gambling with friends and families in the privacy of my own home? We love playing poker especially with poker chips. Would it be illegal if we play in my house or in the my friend’s house? Just private friendly game. Although it does get heated at times with best going over 50USD.

    • Hi, technically, that’s still illegal. However, if that’s really only a poker game between friends and you keep it small, then it is unlikely you will get into any trouble (however, if someone, a bad neighbour, a person with an ill will calls the cops on you, then you will get in trouble). I live in Hungary, the situation is the same here, poker at home, with friends is illegal, but everybody is doing it, and nobody minds it. Just make sure you are not operating some sort of local gambling den, mini casino, that will get you to jail.

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