Thailand Cracks Down on 2,819 Illegal Gambling Websites

The Thai government continues to respond to sprawling online gambling, with the country’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society so far having successfully shut down 2,800 online gambling websites in the last 12 months alone. These numbers reflect an increased interest by Thailand to ensure that citizens are protected from pernicious unregulated websites and businesses that have been actively targeting the country.

Thailand Continues to Fight Illegal Gambling

Minister of Digital Economy and Society Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn noted that the campaign launched in 2020 and the ministry, along with several other agencies, and the Royal Thai Police, have been looking to limit the access of such third parties to the country and its residents.

The campaign is not unlike other similar enforcement actions taken in the region. Thailand, though, has acted much more swiftly in comparison to Australia’s ACMA, a media regulator that has been manually picking up and banning websites. The Thai police are stepping up though, and it’s looking to bring to justice any individual who has collaborated and helped with illegal gambling websites to run their businesses.

Meanwhile, Chaiwut said that more than 2,819 gambling websites have been shut down between September 2021 and August 2022, which is more than the 1,259 websites suspended over the same period a year earlier. The minister added that online gambling is harmful to the general public, and it leads to a number of serious conditions. It can also precipitate pre-existing mental issues, such as anxiety, personality disorders, or depression.

Many Opportunities and Challenges Ahead

Thailand is exploring different options for its gambling industry. One scenario does not rule out the possibility of introducing casino resorts in the country, which some lawmakers hope could have a significant effort toward boosting the national gross domestic product. The idea has been welcomed with cautious optimism from international entertainment giants such as MGM Resorts.

For Thailand to make the leap towards an expansive land-based gambling sector, much will have to happen. Not least, the country will have to assess the opportunities ahead and whether it can truly compete with other regional hubs, such as South Korea, Macau, and soon, Japan. Vietnam is also keen to boost its tourism through the addition of more gambling and casino properties.

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