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Legal & Regulatory

Thailand authorities bust $3m online gambling operation

Thailand’s police busted an online gambling operation that reportedly earned $3m per month. During the raid in Bangkok, 19 people (eight men and 11 women) were arrested.

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The operation was spread throughout three condominium rooms in one building. The police seized eight computers, 30 monitors, 27 mobile phones, seven bank account books and 17 ATM cards. The operation was following the investigation into the online gambling website PGSLOT889.com, and the authorities are hoping to look further into the gambling network.

Casino gambling is considered illegal in Thailand, and the country has a history of battling illegal activities related to gambling. On 5 May 2021, 12 people, including the property’s owner, were arrested for gambling in a restaurant. The police seized gambling equipment and THB3,500 ($112) in cash.

At the start of the year, Thailand’s authorities conducted a similar operation and impounded $39m worth of assets, including bank accounts and houses, from two gambling operators. The two men were suspected of operating gambling dens which were identified as the centre of a cluster of Covid-19 that spread in the country in December.

However, Thailand may be considering the legalization of casino gambling. Bangkok Post reported that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha would consider the possibility of legalising casino gambling in the country, as a way to reduce illegal gambling dens which often are linked to the spread of Covid-19, but he noted the legalisation is as much a moral issue as the legal one.

Thailand recently formed two special committees: a ten-member committee that would investigate cases related to illegal gambling and a 15-member committee to investigate illegal border crossing.

"I believe these committees should be able to - to some extent - win the trust of the members of the public," said Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam.

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