Integrity Legal - Law Firm in Bangkok | Bangkok Lawyer | Legal Services Thailand Back to
Integrity Legal

Legal Services & Resources 

Up to date legal information pertaining to Thai, American, & International Law.

Contact us: +66 2-266 3698

Will Thailand Legalize Gambling?

Transcript of the above video:

A hot topic in recent days and one that we have discussed at length on this channel is gambling in Thailand.

On a personal note, I actually worked in the gaming industry long before I became an Attorney. It is actually what I did during most of law school so I do have a little bit of personal insight into how the gambling industry works. That said, we are discussing this in a Thailand context so it remains to be seen exactly how this is going to unfold. Just as an aside for those who watch this channel rather regularly, I just find this interesting on a personal level so this will probably be something that we follow rather closely moving forward as it seems to me that there is certainly some momentum building behind the notion of gambling legalization. I also want to be clear, I don't want to get into my personal opinions on whether I think this is good or bad. I think there are substantial pros and cons associated with legalization of gambling. I have personally witnessed both the upside of legal gambling in jurisdictions as well as the downside of legal gambling in jurisdictions, and they are myriad. There are multiple great things that can happen for a community that legalizes gambling and there are multiple very negative things that can happen to a community when gambling is legalized. I don't want to get into all of that. We just want to talk about what is going on with respect to this.

A recent article from the Bangkok Post that is, the article is titled: Prayuth to Weigh in on Legalized Gambling and we are quoting directly here: "Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha says he will consider legalizing gambling in Thailand a contentious course of action that has been opposed for decades." Yeah, there is a lot of institutional and popular resistance to gambling being legalized in Thailand for a number of different reasons. Another article and this is from and it is titled: PM: Legalized Gambling Could be on the Cards to Curb COVID-19 Spread. Quoting directly from this article: "Korn Chatikavanich, leader of the Kla party said on Thursday that one PM would be enough to fix the problem if he were brave enough to legalize gambling." They have also noted that this has a tertiary relationship to COVID-19 or the response associated thereto as the predominant feeling seems to be right now that some of these super spreader hot spots for lack of a better term, were some of these illegal gambling dens or alleged illegal gambling dens in Thailand. I don't want to get into all that. That is not really the thrust of this video but that is kind of the background as to why this is coming to the forefront. Quoting directly further from that article: "Prayuth said the way to stop the virus spreading through gambling dens was for everyone to stop gambling."  I do have to say from time to time I find Prayuth, I hesitate to say funny, but I do get a chuckle from time to time that Prayuth can be very direct. Where he just says “look if you want to stop the spread of COVID-19 in gambling dens just everyone stopped gambling.” Well yes that certainly is the most direct route to this but as a practical matter is everyone going to do that probably not and especially where there are illegal gambling dens and it is hard to track them that that seems like a rather simplistic way to look at things. That said, it would be the best way, is if everyone just stopped gambling for a little while but that probably isn't going to be in line with reality. Quoting further: "Korn said the way to help fix the problem is almost the opposite, namely to allow people to gamble legally at regulated venues. He also said that legalizing gambling would increase tax revenue."  Now that is always a major argument with respect to gambling. Setting aside all the COVID stuff, tax revenues is always a major, major issue with regard to the question of legalized gambling. I personally know jurisdictions I have been in where it was not legal and was subsequently legalized, tax has always played a major part of the argument it was always a major role in the argument "hey we can raise tax revenues", something to look at. Again not to get too deep into this but yeah raising revenue is a big portion or is a big benefit especially for the Government with respect to legalization of gambling. At the same time you also have to weigh in the cost of the community of people who gamble too much; gambling addiction. Gambling addiction, and I have seen it with people, it can have tremendous negative consequences, I mean substantial negative consequences for families and for communities as a whole. In many ways depending on the circumstances, a casino can act as something of a black hole for capital in a given community just being sucked up and not being recycled in that community to the greater communal benefit. That is where regulation comes in. Again I don't want to get too deep into this, you know tax revenue versus consequences to the community. These are things that need to be dealt with at a policy level.

But long story short, this appears to be gaining increasing traction. It seems to be mostly in the foreground with COVID being the background of this whole thing. How exactly this plays out remains to be seen but we will keep making videos as the situation evolves.