In order to prevent the coronavirus from spreading further, the Thai government announced that it is considering relaxing its ban on casino games. The government has long prevented casinos from operating in the country.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha authorized the formation of two committees last week. One will investigate human trafficking into the country and the other will examine how local authorities investigate cases related to illegal gambling.
The mission of both committees will be to find formulas to effectively limit the spread of covid-19 further. In december, rates of the virus doubled as the government increased pandemic controls.
But the confinement requirements plus the fears generated by the pandemic have hit the national tourism industry. The fiscal effects for the government have been very harsh.
In Nonthaburi, the country’s second largest city, police raided an illegal gambling den last week as well as in the resort town of Pattaya, where another of these illegal gambling sites operated in a residential area.
The gambling committee should investigate whether the police simply turned their gaze to the side so that these illegal gambling centers can operate without problem and with the greatest impunity.
Prime Minister Prayut recently said that although he does not have a pro-gaming view, a discussion was needed around the need to legalize gambling in Thailand. He argued that not with all the policies of the country it is possible to “rid Thailand of illegal gambling houses.”
Several opposition party leaders share Prayut’s opinion and believe that legal casinos could serve to improve government finances.
Currently, the laws of Thailand prohibit gambling and only allow the operation of a state lottery, which is not very attractive to local residents. In order to play, residents often go to neighboring Cambodia where there are several gaming rooms.
The point is, those border crossings now remain closed due to the pandemic, which has led to new underground gaming operators to flourish within Thailand.
While, on the one hand, Prime Minister Prayut wants a public discussion to open on the convenience of legalizing gambling, anti-gambling groups are already waving their flags to prevent it.
Other Groups with a broader vision have focused on discussing the limits of legal gambling and have suggested that they be limited to integrated tourist complexes that operate in certain tourist areas and not allow local communities to be flooded with small gambling establishments.