Centre for Gambling Studies (CGS) has found in a survey that more than 700,000 first-time bettors gambled this year, with the youngest being only seven years old.
Nualnoi Trirat, CGS director said the centre has been studying the gambling habits of Thais across the country since 2017.
The study found that 30.42 million Thais, equivalent to 57% of the country’s population, engaged in some sort of gambling. This was an increase of 1.4 million gamblers since the study began in 2017. Of the 30.42 million gamblers surveyed this year, 733,000 were 15-18 years old or about 20% of people in this age range; 3.05 million were aged 19-25 years (46%) and 3.3 million gamblers were 60 or older (42%).
Nualnoi Trirat said.
“Our study found that more than 700,000 people who gambled this year were first-time gamblers and the youngest of them was only seven years old,”
“In terms of money generated by gambling activities, football betting came out top with about 160 billion baht circulating each year ,followed by the underground lottery with 153 billion baht, and government lottery with 150 billion baht,”
According to Ms. Nualnoi, news coverage of government lottery winners is pushing more and more Thais to try their luck.
“The Government Lottery Office prints more than 100 million lottery tickets for each draw, which far outstrips the country’s total population of about 68 million people,” she said.
Supreeda Adulyanont, manager of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation said.
“We believe access to gambling must be tightened and we urge the government to come up with policies which do not promote such activities in society .Thailand should follow other countries’ examples and set up a panel tasked with preventing occasional gamblers from becoming gambling addicts.”
“[The government] should also offer services to wean addicts off their gambling habit and provide assistance to the gamblers’ families,” Supreeda added.