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Study reveals truth behind Thailand's gambling addiction

The "underground lottery" remains the most popular form of gambling in Thailand with an estimated capital of Bt100 billion per year, while the government lottery follows with a capital of Bt76.77 billion, a study by Chulalongkorn University's Social Research Institute revealed yesterday.



The study on gambling in Thailand was carried out by Dr Pinij Larpthananon, a researcher at the institute, along with his associates. It was conducted on 5,042 respondents aged over 15, from 16 provinces.

Responses indicated that most people (64.2 per cent) had gambled in the past year and over 63 per cent used to gamble when they were under the age of 24. The youngest "gambler" was a seven-year-old.

Based on the results of respondents, the study also calculated the different types of gambling practised as a percentage number of Thailand's population. The underground lottery came top with an estimated 19,923,643 gamblers, followed by the government lottery with 19,211,727 gamblers.

Ranked third, was illegal gambling dens with an estimated 3,125,705 gamblers, followed by football betting with 1,067,418 gamblers. In fifth was gambling on local sports with approximately 883,592 gamblers, the study said.

Phongsathon Chantharassami, manager of the Information Centre for Gambling Control Policy, under the Sodsri-Saridwongsa Foundation, said law enforcement was the key to tackling illegal gambling in the country. Citing a Royal Thai Police report that said police had made 3,988 gambling-related arrests in the first half of this year, Phongsathon said it demonstrated that the current law on gambling was out-of-date and ineffective in tackling the problem.

As for the gambling act draft legislation, which was approved by the Cabinet in principle in October 2011 and would soon be submitted to the Council of State consideration, Phongsathon expressed concern that it didn't accurately cover the modern world of gambling. One example, he said, was the fact that it made no reference to the growing problem of gambling among children and young people.


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