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Thailand "Fun Police" Chronicles: Gambling

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the "Fun Police". I thought this was interesting. I was perusing, I read a lot of the news in Thailand regarding legal matters generally and we had made a video based on a conversation that occurred here in the firm when we were discussing issues associated with some of the restrictions being brought forth in this latest response to COVID-19. I had noted that basically somebody in the office just offhandedly said "well, it sounds like the "Fun Police"! And this was a joke and so we made a video and we said the "fun police".

A recent letter to the Bangkok Post, this was published in the print edition of the Bangkok Post Sunday April 18, 2021 and this is under the Post Bag, so this is the letter section and the title of the submission is: "Fun Police" Strike Again. When I saw that after we had made that video I thought, "Oh that would be interesting to see." Just quoting directly so folks can get the gist of this: "For 50 years I have partaken in my culturally acceptable and very legal hobby of having a wager on horse racing." Quoting further: "Recently the Thai Government has deemed me a criminal and blocked my website. People are continually moaning that the illogical Immigration laws will cause them to up and leave. I have never had any worries with Immigration but this illogical denial of my enjoyment that millions of others do legally every day may see me on my way also. The "fun police" will cost the country yet again. What right do these people have to ruin the lives of others? Lastly the UK bookmaker huge pays tax to the Government; no one loses." 

Okay a couple of things there. Interesting that the term "fun police", I didn't really intend for that to catch on the way it seems to have but interestingly that seems to have. It could not have been caused by me necessarily; it may have been that other people independently came up with that appellation. So the point of this is the letter pertains to this person likes to wager and they were using an online site to do that and they are being constrained from doing so through the internet here in Thailand. They can't access whatever site they were using. A couple of things and I am not trying to get into this and be semantic but I do think people should understand, gambling for the most part is illegal in Thailand although there are certain exceptions, for example the lottery. There are certain exceptions for things pertaining to Thai boxing, and there is horse racing in Thailand and depending on the venue it may be possible to wager there. Again, you need to look at the specific laws on that. This is not a video on the specifics of gambling and the nature of the regulations associated with the rules on gambling in Thailand. 

The purpose of this video is more almost from a comparative law standpoint. So this person who wrote in said "what right do these people have to ruin the lives of others?" Well in Thailand, the Government of Thailand, they make the laws pertaining to gambling in Thailand and those that are physically present in Thailand notwithstanding the fact they may be making a bet online, I think it generally speaking will be inferred that look that at least a significant portion of the act of gambling occurred in Thailand because the person who is undertaking to place the bet is in Thailand. Therefore they have jurisdiction to regulate that. It also said under this "lastly the UK bookmaker pays huge tax to the Government; no one loses." Yeah, the UK Government but Thailand isn't seeing any tax revenue from online gaming. So as far as that goes, that doesn't pertain to Thailand. It is not a tax that Thailand is partaking of. If Thailand was somehow taxing it, I would say "oh yeah there may be some kind of argument as to why is it being restricted if a tax can be levied."  But yeah, those in Thailand gambling is for the most part severely constrained or circumscribed with respect to who can gamble and under what circumstances. While I would say a rethink of gambling policy, policy pertaining to gaming in Thailand might not be a terrible idea, the fact is that presently the law is what it is and yes gambling is heavily regulated to the point of certain actions are considered illegal so yeah these restrictions are just here. Now it sounds to me like as a practical matter they just weren't being enforced and now they are with respect to whatever particular site this individual is using and unfortunately that is kind of the paradoxical frustration that arises from non-enforcement when enforcement does occur is people get used to the non-enforcement and then when the enforcement occurs it becomes very aggravating notwithstanding the fact that the law may have always been there. 

Hopefully, I am kind of hoping we are going to see some policy discussions and perhaps even some changes to the law regarding gambling here in Thailand and if and when that does occur, we will update you on this channel accordingly.