The Covid-19 pandemic has stimulated online gambling in Thailand to grow by 135 percent, circulating about 107 billion baht, the Center for Gambling Studies (CGS) reported today, October 8th.
This is despite gambling being highly illegal in Thailand.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nualnoi Treerat, Director of the Center for Gambling Studies, Faculty of Economics, Chulalongkorn University, told reporters that the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly unpopularized gambling at the actual casinos.
“About 4.18 million physical gamblers were reported during the pandemic, which decreased by 16.1 percent, and an average betting limit of 108,805 million baht was reported, which decreased by 12.6 percent,” Dr. Nualnoi stated.
Online gambling has grown exponentially with the rising of 1.12 million gamblers or by about 135 percent, circulating the business with 107,078 million baht or 431.3 percent of the growth.
According to the research, popular online gambling types are 1. Baccarat and poker (78.8%) 2. Slot machines, arcade casino games (36.8%) 3. Hi-Lo, Fish-Prawn-Crab (20.8%) and 4. Other card games
The Director stated: “The reasons why online gambling is becoming popular are mainly because it is convenient with various games. Depositing and withdrawing money from the system is also fast and simple. Due to the closure of the offline casinos, more people are turning to participate online as they can enjoy anytime, anywhere with many incentives promotion as well.”
Thanakorn Komkris, Secretary of the Stop Gambling Foundation (SGF), further stated that the government agencies that are responsible for solving gambling problems are still having difficulties in working together systematically, causing offline and online gambling, which is considered highly illegal, to be popularized in the Kingdom.
“The gambling problems will require strong cooperation from many sectors, both public and private. Initially, the government could establish a gambling problem management center consisting of government officials, private sectors, and civil society in order to effectively end gambling problems and focus on creating public awareness about gambling, especially among children and youth who may be convinced by gambling advertising and solicitations,” Thanakorn added.
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