Thailand steps up efforts against online gambling, blocks 25,000+ websites

Thailand steps up efforts against online gambling, blocks 25,000+ websites
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Thailand intensified its crackdown on unauthorized online gambling operations, blocking over 25,000 websites since October amid ongoing discussions regarding the potential legalization of casino gaming in the country.

Deputy government spokesperson Kanika Aunjit unveiled the latest measures aimed at curbing illegal online gambling, emphasizing the government's recognition of such activities as serious economic crimes. The Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (DES) is leading the charge to investigate, suspend, restrict and block illicit online gambling providers nationwide.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin highlighted the detrimental impact of online gambling on both the economy and public welfare, citing concerns about its accessibility to youth and instances of identity theft. The government's firm stance aims to protect citizens from the risks associated with unlicensed gambling operators and their enticing promises of profits, according to officials.

Thailand's relentless pursuit of eradicating online gambling is reflected in the recent statistics provided by the DES. Between October 1, 2023, and March 5, 2024, over 60,681 units of inappropriate information were suspended, and over 25,571 online gambling-related websites were blocked.

The penalties for violating Thailand's stringent gambling laws are severe. Offenders face fines ranging from 20,000 to 200,000 baht and imprisonment for up to 10 years. Additionally, individuals found encouraging others to engage in gambling activities risk fines of 2,000 baht and imprisonment for up to two years.

While Thailand maintains its strict stance against online gambling, discussions surrounding the legalization of casino gaming are gaining traction. Arecent legislative move allowing for the construction of resorts featuring casinossignals a potential shift in the country's approach to gambling regulation.

Experts speculate that Thailand may emerge as a frontrunner in the Asian casino market, potentially launching its first casino before the anticipated opening of MGM Resorts' integrated resort in Osaka, Japan.