Thailand is one of the world’s most-popular tourist destinations. It features beautiful scenery and lots of things to do.
If you’re a gambler who’s ever thought of visiting Thailand, then you may want to play online casino games while you’re here. But is it even legal and possible to enjoy online gaming here?
I’ll discuss this matter below by covering Thailand’s alure, gambling laws, and if you can ultimately enjoy mobile casino games here.
Why Thailand Is a Hotspot for Gamblers & Tourists
Thailand is one of the top 10 tourism destinations. It features highly popular cities, including Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya.
Beyond its heavily trafficked cities, Thailand draws numerous tourists for plenty of other reasons. It has one of the world’s richest histories, which dates back over 20,000 years ago.
Therefore, many ancient temples exist throughout the nation. The 40,000+ Buddhist temples in Thailand are especially notable.
Other types of Thai temples exist as well. Bangkok’s Grand Palace, for example, is one of the most visited.
This country loves to throw festivals, which are favorites among tourists. The Thailand Lantern Festival, for instance, draws countless people every year.
Other popular celebrations include Loy Krathong, Yi Peng, and the Elephant Festival. The latter honors elephants—a sacred animal in Thailand.
Tourists also love the food here. Some popular Thai dishes include:
- Pad Thai – Contains fish sauce, rice noodles, stir-fried w/ eggs, seafood, and tamarind pulp.
- Som Tam – A salad that features hot chili sauce, palm sugar, savory fish sauce, sour lime, and unripe papaya.
- Tom Yum Goong – Spicy shrimp soup with lemongrass.
Beaches are quite popular in this country as well. Thanks to its many miles of coastline, Thailand features hotspots like Bang Saen (Chonburi), Freedom Beach (Phuket), Jomtien Beach (Pattaya), and Lamai (Koh Samui).
You can also see exotic wildlife in this country. Elephants, leopards, monkeys, sun bears, and tigers are just some of the animals found in the Thai wild.
All of these benefits come at relatively little cost. Thailand is one of the cheaper tourism destinations with affordable hotel rooms (US$60 average) and cheap dishes ($5 or less per meal).
Thai Gambling Laws Are Strict
If you’re hoping to enjoy a wide variety of legal online casinos after hopping off the plane, then you’ll be somewhat disappointed. Thailand features some of the planet’s strictest gambling laws.
According to the Gambling Act of 1935, all forms of gambling outside of horse races and government-backed lotteries are prohibited. As per the Playing Cards Act, Thai residents and visitors can’t even own more than 120 playing cards without getting government approval.
Online gambling isn’t specifically mentioned in the archaic Gambling Act of 1935. Regardless, the country’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society worked to block many online casino and betting sites in 2020.
Why Is Thailand So Strict on Gambling?
95% of Thailand’s population is Buddhist. Gambling is one of the main vices, or “portals of hell” (abaiyamuk), under Buddhism.
Many practicing Buddhists worry that they’ll suffer as a result of gambling. This same crowd doesn’t fight the notion that they’re supposed to avoid gaming.
Nevertheless, some of the Thai still gamble. They may do so at an illegal casino or at the occasional festival or ceremony. By and large, though, the Thai aren’t a large culture of gamblers.
Do People Still Play at Mobile Casinos in Thailand?
As covered earlier, gambling is largely considered illegal in Thailand. Nevertheless, the country still features plenty of underground casinos and poker rooms.
The police will sometimes raid illegal gambling dens. But enough go unchecked that residents and visitors can still find casino gaming.
As for online casinos, they’re easily accessible in Thailand. Of course, these mobile casinos aren’t licensed and regulated by the government.
Instead, they’re based in offshore locations and offer their services to the Thai. Gaming sites feel comfortable doing so when considering that the Gambling Act doesn’t mention online casinos or sportsbooks. This situation is similar to Canada and many US states, which features grey markets as well.
Of course, most Thai Buddhists still avoid gambling—whether it be online or in land-based establishments. Visitors, however, can look forward to mobile casino games thanks to unregulated sites.
Although some internet casinos, poker sites, and sportsbooks were blocked in 2020, many others are still available.
Can You Bet Thai Baht at Online Casinos?
Some Thailand mobile casinos do accept Thai baht (THB). Assuming you have a bank account or other payment service with THB, then you can deposit at these gaming sites.
These same sites might allow you to gamble in the country’s native currency too. At the current exchange rates, a 100 THB bet is worth US$3.35.
Not all mobile casinos accept baht, though. Some Thailand online casinos only take major currencies like USD, GBP, and/or EUR.
If you only have THB, then you’ll need to make a conversion to one of the available currencies. Afterward, you can place a deposit using an available method.
Speaking of which, Thai mobile casinos take bank transfers, credit cards, cryptocurrencies, e-wallets, and wire transfers. Some gaming sites won’t offer all of these methods, but they’ll at least feature multiple deposit options.
Should You Gamble Online in Thailand?
Given the availability of unregulated online gaming, nothing is stopping you from playing at internet casinos. However, you might want to take a few factors into consideration before logging on.
First off, Thailand isn’t keen on any type of gambling. Again, they technically only allow horse betting and approved lotteries—everything else is illegal.
The chances of you being arrested for online gaming are almost zero percent. This nation doesn’t have anything regarding internet gambling in its laws. The authorities don’t seem to actively seek gamblers either.
Nevertheless, you may be breaking Thailand’s laws by playing at gaming sites. You probably won’t be caught, but it’s still something to think about.
The other issue is the large number of unregulated sites. The Thai government doesn’t back any of these casinos and protect gamblers.
That being said, you really want to do some research before depositing at an online casino. You should read reviews and look for licensed gaming sites.
Licensed mobile casinos are more likely to serve you well. After all, they risk losing their licenses by cheating gamblers.
Here are key points that you should scrutinize when looking for a Thailand online casino:
- Game variety – How many slots, table games, and other types of games does a casino offer?
- Bonuses – Any decent gaming site should provide bonuses.
- Loyalty rewards – Quality online casinos also give out loyalty rewards.
- Reputation – You can look through reviews to figure out a casino’s reputation.
- Customer support – Worthwhile gaming sites offer friendly and knowledgeable support.
- Banking options – Make sure that an online casino offers a banking method you can use.
- License – Avoid playing at any unlicensed gaming site.
In the end whether you gamble online in Thailand is a personal choice. I can’t recommend any illegal action, so my suggestion is to either not play or move somewhere that you can legally gamble online if you simply can’t live without the action.
Many people get away with gambling online in places where it’s against the law, but this doesn’t mean that it’s safe. Are you prepared for the consequences if you get caught?
A little bit of gambling entertainment isn’t worth a single minute in jail. And this is exactly what can happen if you gamble online in Thailand and get caught.
You won’t have any trouble accessing real money online casinos in Thailand. Many gaming sites serve this country.
However, the Thai government itself doesn’t endorse these sites. It does not approve of any forms of gambling behind lotteries and horse racing.
You’re highly unlikely to get arrested for playing at Thailand online casinos. But you do need to ensure that you’re choosing quality gaming sites.
Only unregulated mobile casinos serve this nation. With enough research, though, you can choose a worthwhile Thai online casino.
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …