September 7, 2011

Thais flock to Cambodia on casino crackdown fears


Gamblers fearful of a crackdown on illegal gambling dens in Bangkok have been making their way to Cambodian casinos over the past two days, the Bangkok Post reported yesterday.

Thais have been arriving by the busload at border checkpoints in Sa Kaeo and Surin provinces, seeking to cross into Cambodia. There are 10 casinos opposite Sa Kaeo, and two opposite Surin, the report said.

The exodus of gamblers comes on the heels of an announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung last week that he would get tough on more than 40 illicit casinos operating in central Bangkok.

Mr Chalerm's announcement in turn followed Rak Prathet Thai leader Chuwit Kamolvisit's revelation that senior police officers owned gambling dens in Bangkok. The lawmaker had showed a video clip in Parliament purportedly recorded at an illegal casino in the heart of the capital.

Announcing the clampdown last week, Mr Chalerm said he had spent more than a year gathering information on casinos while his party was in the opposition until its election win last month.

"Not only the casino on Rama IX Road, but also other casinos in other areas will no longer exist," he was quoted as telling reporters by the Agence France-Presse.

He said two senior officers had been assigned to oversee the crackdown but if the metropolitan police would not close the casinos, then he would ask other agencies, such as the border patrol police, to do the job.

A source at the border told the Bangkok Post that the announced crackdown in Bangkok had resulted in a windfall for Cambodian casinos.

The source said large border casinos generate between 13 billion baht (US$434 million) and 15 billion baht a year in revenue and smaller ones about 500 million baht to 700 million baht a year.

Meanwhile, 62 per cent of respondents across the country surveyed by the National Institute of Development Administration said the police in respective jurisdictions must face the music for allowing the illegal casinos to operate, the Post reported.

About 23 per cent said they had known of gambling dens operating near their homes, while 61 per cent said they disagreed with legalising gambling in Thailand.

Most forms of gambling are outlawed in the kingdom but it remains popular in a country where corruption is rife.


  1. Illegal casino gambling dens should be banned.

  2. is this caused by another online casino industry recession or manipulation from outside forces? I hope players from Thai can still wager.

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