Cops bust THB3bn online gambling network as Thais bet ‘billions’ on World Cup

The Nation Thailand
Cops bust THB3bn online gambling network as Thais bet ‘billions’ on World Cup
Wild Casino

Cybercrime police have made five arrests and seized cash, vehicles and assets worth over 1 billion baht in raids at 13 locations to bust a gambling network operating

The website had about 3 billion baht in circulation, swelled by bets on the World Cup in Qatar, police said. 

Gambling is illegal in Thailand outside of the government lottery and horse racing but the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce estimates Thais will bet about 57.2 billion baht (US$1.6 billion) on the World Cup.

National Police chief General Damrongsak Kittiprapas said 13 locations in Bangkok and the northern province of Chiang Rai were raided to bust the online gambling network.

At five condominium units on Ratchadapisek Road in Bangkok, police confiscated 2.65 million baht in cash, three luxury cars, 39 luxury watches, 18 land title deeds, 25 luxury-brand bags, 65 bank passbooks, and jewellery. They also discovered three bags of ketamine, which led to the arrest of the Thai condominium owner on a drug possession charge.

At a commercial building in Soi Charan Sanitwong 68 in Bangkok’s Bang Phlat district, police confiscated 140,000 baht in cash, a BMW car, six land deeds, three luxury watches, 23 brand name bags and 46 bank passbooks.

Damrongsak said police had also detained four suspects, all Thai nationals, on arrest warrants dated December 9 for money laundering and advertising the gambling website. One male was arrested at an apartment in Bangkok’s Soi Phetkasem 48, while three suspects, two men and one woman, were arrested in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district.

Deputy national police chief General Torsak Sukvimol, who supervises the police’s anti-football-gambling taskforce, said that as well as bets on World Cup matches, the website offered gambling on slot machines, card games, and fishing games.

Torsak said that 10,644 people have been arrested on gambling charges since the taskforce was established in November to prevent betting on World Cup 2022 matches. Those caught include 90 operators and over 9,000 customers of offline gambling, and 28 operators and 743 customers of online gambling. Ten of the online gamblers arrested were underaged, he added.