Casinos and Gambling in Thailand

As a general rule, gambling in Thailand is illegal!!

Can I gamble legally? Yes

The state run lottery is drawn twice a month on the 15th and 30th. Tickets are available from sellers on the streets of most towns. Horse racing takes place at the Royal Turf Club, which is located in Bangkok, just off Rama 4 Road, near the Silom area.

The other side of the coin.

However it is in the nature of most people in the SE Asia region to gamble and Thailand is no exception. Just about anything can be used as an opportunity to bet. There are transboundary lotteries, football matches, illegal bookmaking at the races, boxing matches, cockfights and fish fights. A recent report in the Bangkok Post newspaper stated that "Each year, the gambling world in Thailand turns over 320 million Baht. Around 110 million of this goes to gambling dens, 92 million goes to underground lotteries, 51 million goes on football bets and about 38 million to the state-run lottery"

Gambling is a major source of income for the black economy, including drug trafficking, tax evasion, illicit arms trade, prostitution and illegal logging to mention a few.

There are moves to legalise gambling to increase the state revenue, promote tourism, create new businesses and jobs, and decrease the amount of illegal cash in circulation.

Where else to have a flutter?

The neighbouring countries of Laos and Cambodia have reacted to Thailand's ban on gambling by setting up casinos just across the border.

At the Aranyaprathet border post there are no less than 7 casinos awaiting you on the Cambodian side at Poipet.

Most of the customers are Thais. The border is open from 09.00 to 17:00 and officially a visa is needed to travel into Cambodia but we understand that there are Cambodian brokers who will get you into the casino compound if you do not have your passport available.

The border at Had Lek in Trat province offers the same sort of opportunities with 2 casinos just across the border at Koh Kong in Cambodia.

Up in the north there are casinos just across the Mekong River in Laos.

If you buy US $750 of chips you will get a free nights stay at the casino, US $1250 will get the room free for the weekend. There are services like massage palours, beauty salons, exercise rooms and saunas. There are duty free shops in every casino displaying imported wines, spirits, cigarettes and chocolates. However there is the reverse side, with the in house pawn shops offering jewelry, watches and mobile phones sold by unlucky punters to pay their way home.

Remember the house always wins!

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