Leaders of smaller Thai parties want to legalise online casinos

PHOTO: Flickr - Marco Verch

Twenty representatives of smaller Thai political parties have submitted a draft amendment for the Gambling Act to Thailand’s parliamentary house speaker yesterday. The draft amendment would aim to legalise online casinos. An MP from the Thai Local Power Party said that legalising online casinos will let authorities collect taxes from license holders, and decide how to punish illegal casino operators.

MP Kovit Puangngam, claimed that of the tax revenue collected from license holders, including their application fees, 90% of taxes will fund state welfare initiatives. This would include debt relief in the agricultural sector, as well as student loans and occupational development. Kovit said the other 10% will go to the Ministry of Finance. He claimed that Thailand is expected to earn 1.5 trillion baht in revenue from tax collection and application fees from online casinos.

It’s not just the revenue that Thai leaders say would be a possible benefit of legalising online casinos. The Thai Local Power Party’s deputy spokesman said that legalisation will allow for data checks of online players, which can also help prevent crimes associated with gambling activities.

Gambling is currently mostly illegal in Thailand, with a few exceptions (including the bi-monthly state lottery). Regular Police crackdowns and raids on gamblers and underground gambling dens are common in the country.

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Last month, it was reported that a committee of Thailand’s cabinet members and politicians would submit a study on the feasibility of bringing casinos, and casino resorts to Thailand, to the country’s House of Representatives. Rumours even circled that Las Vegas Sands, an American casino and resort company, was in talks with Thai officials to procure a casino license, the first of its kind in Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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