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…
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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:
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.
A gambling license is intended to protect players, and one of its main functions is to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes when they come up. If you have a dispute with a casino, and the casino is being unreasonable, the gambling authority will help you. For many licenses, this means you can contact the gambling authority to get help processing your withdrawals, claiming money the casino has debited from your account, or resolving other disputes that might arise. The likelihood that the gambling authority will help you in ways that are effective, however, depends on the procedures they have in place for this. This is yet another reason why choosing to play at a casino that has a safe license is important.
Getting help directly from the gambling authority is not always necessary, or even an option. A lot of regulators have now enforced third-party dispute resolution. This means casinos must have an agreement with an arbitrator who will look into disputes on the behalf of players from a particular casino. This ensures your dispute will be reviewed by an objective third party. All trusted online casinos have information about arbitration on their websites if they use this option, or they’ll have the contact information for the gambling authority you should consult. However, you should always try to resolve your issues with the casino first, and a lot of casinos have separate email addresses specifically for handling complaints.
If you’re worried about the security of the transactions you’re making at a casino, you should look for a logo with the acronym PCI DSS. This stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and this is something the payment industry has created. If you see this logo, it means the casino can be trusted for safe money transactions since they follow all of the rules set by the payment industry. Information about this can also be found in an FAQ section on the casino’s website.Another thing to look out for in terms of payments is where your money is kept while you play. Some gambling authorities, all of the best ones actually, regulate what the casino can do with your money while they are holding it. Your money shouldn’t go into a general bank account held by the casino; it should go into an account that is strictly for holding player funds. This means that as long as you have the money in your player account, it can’t be spent by the casino. Your deposit will be kept separate from the operating funds of the casino until your player account is empty, which will happen if you make a funds withdrawal or if you lose the money while playing.
The best known system tool for ensuring that a casino offers fair games is eCogra; however, there are other providers that also offer these kinds of systems. You want to make sure that the casino is using a certified third-party control system to ensure that the games of chance you’re playing are actually based on chance and not on other types of metrics. Rigged games are ones that have been set up to pay out less than they claim to or ones that give some players a greater chance of winning than others.
The eCogra logo can often be found in the footer of the casino’s website, but not all casinos choose to display it. If you can’t see this logo, go to the FAQs and see if you can find information about random number generators. If there are no FAQs on the site, check out their terms and conditions or contact the casino’s support and ask how they ensure their games are safe.
Most trustworthy casinos have information about site security in the website footer, so simply scroll down and look for the logo of a well-known security system.
The gambling license a casino operates under will have a big impact on your security. Not all licenses are equally safe for players for the simple reason that they are issued by different gambling authorities that work in different ways and have different rules. The rules and regulations may be quite similar, but the way they are enforced is a different story entirely. For example, if a casino doesn’t comply with the regulations, some gambling authorities may just issue a fine while others may revoke the casino’s license outright. How often gambling authorities show up for an unscheduled inspection or control will also vary.
The biggest differences between a safe, high quality gambling license and one that isn’t as good will usually show up in the areas of fair gaming, dispute resolution and the rules and systems for identifying and handling problem gamblers (responsible gambling). If your country of residence has its own gambling authority, playing at casinos that are licensed by them will be the safest option for you. Other international licenses that can be trusted are issued by the Malta Gambling Authority and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. Curacao eGaming is getting better at protecting players whereas licenses from Panama and Costa Rica, for instance, are considered less safe. The worst option is obviously a casino with no license whatsoever.