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Thailand – Online Casinos & Gambling Regulations
The predominantly Buddhist Southeast Asian country of Thailand has very strict laws on gambling within the country. In fact, because Buddhists see gambling as one of the four major vices that lead people into ruin, then there is very little in the way of gambling activities in which you can partake. So, while a state-run national lottery is permitted (as it’s seen as a way of raising taxes), almost all other forms of gambling are illegal – not that many players within the country don’t take risks by playing illegally. We’ll be covering all this and more in this guide…
While many Thai people love to play casino games, betting at an online site (whether that’s on slots, table games, or wagering on sporting events) is strictly illegal and has led to numerous people being thrown in prison over the years. Therefore, while there are plenty of brands based outside the country that offer their services to Thai nationals, we would be remiss if we didn’t point out the very real implications of getting caught playing at online casinos from Thailand.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of options for those who want to play casino games at their own risk in Thailand. This will be at a site with servers located in other countries, either in Asia or Europe most likely. This means that players should look for a site that carries a reputable gaming license from the likes of the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA), the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority (GRA), and/or the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
Many players who, at their own risk, play at Thai online casinos do so by making deposits and withdrawals via third party eWallets or anonymous cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, as well as using VPNs to mask their IP addresses. So, if you are determined to find gambling sites in Thailand, you’ll find plenty of information on everything from welcome bonuses, free spins, and payment methods to customer support, games selection, and promotions. Here’s a short checklist players should consider:
- Read GoodLuckMate’s casino reviews
- Check the available payment methods
- See if the Thai baht is accepted at the site
- Ensure that everything is written in Thai
- Go over all of the terms and conditions
If you want to play at your own risk, you can find all the latest bonuses on our casino reviews.
As mentioned above, most forms of gambling are illegal in Thailand. The only exception to that rule is that all Thais are permitted to play the national lottery. So, while gambling is widespread throughout the country and very much part of the culture, Thai nationals are not allowed to visit land-based casinos, bet on popular sports such as football, or play slots, table games or poker at online casinos based outside the country. In fact, it is even illegal for a person to own more than 120 playing cards without express approval from the government. All of this is covered under the Gambling Act that was passed in 1935 and subsequently updated as new technologies arrived on the scene. Because of all this, there is no gaming regulator in Thailand, although there is a Centre of Gambling Studies that helps people who have become addicted.
Because gambling is so popular in the country and many people are willing to break the law for a few hours of what they see purely as entertainment, there are sites localized for Thai people. This includes online casinos translated into the Central Thai language, as well as sites that accept deposits and withdrawals in baht – although, it’s far more likely that transactions will happen in US dollars, Chinese renminbi, or the euro currency used in the European Union. In addition to the handful of sites that are translated into Central Thai, it is possible to find fluent Thai customer support agents, as well as live dealer games taking place in Thai.
While all such establishments are illegal there are plenty of land-based casinos in all of the major cities, including, of course, the huge tourist destination of Bangkok and the most popular coastal locations. The same thing goes for shops that accept bets on sporting events, bars that host poker games, and so on. However, as all such operations are illegal, they will be using a front to cover such activities, or else be paying off the police in some form or another. Therefore, we absolutely do not recommend that you ever gamble in land-based casinos in Thailand.