The History of Gambling within Thailand

The Thai relationship with gambling is similar to other Southeast Asian countries. It has a long heritage of cockfighting, which is entirely legal, although fighting a cock until the death is illegal. Cockfighting is a form of gambling that is culturally accepted throughout Thailand, yet most other forms of gambling are entirely illegal.

As seen within other Asian countries, a state sponsored lottery is active within Thailand. This is of historical significance as it is one of the only forms of completely legal gambling that occurs within the state, with the other being betting on horse racing and Muay Thai fights on websites such as M88 Vietnam.

Muay Thai is culturally significant to Thailand. It is the national sport of Thailand and has historic roots throughout the country. The sport surged in popularity throughout the twentieth century and gathered a lot of international interest. Nowadays, a visit to a Muay Thai fight in order to gamble is a common occurrence for tourists in Bangkok.

However, general sports betting (on games such as football etc.) is not permitted under law. This reaches endemic levels during major football tournaments, which causes the incidents of illegal betting to soar.

Clearly, there is an appetite for gambling within the Thai community. It is engrained within two of their most prestigious pastimes and there are large markets of illegal, underground activity. The neighbouring countries of Laos and Cambodia have taken advantage of this by establishing casinos on the Thai border, thus encouraging the Thai population that want to game to cross into the foreign countries that have a permissive view on foreigners gambling.

Thailand has perhaps the most interesting relationship with gambling of all of Southeast Asia. This is due to the fact that Muay Thai is such an important part of Thai culture, yet betting on Muay Thai matches is widespread and accepted, thus making gambling as much a feature of Thai culture as Muay Thai is. Furthermore, there is a large movement within the country to have gambling legalised by the state. Perhaps then, another significant event in the history of gambling in Thailand will soon be made by the state, if they give in to public pressure. This would be a logical move when it is considered how much money the state loses from civilians gaming in foreign casinos across the border.