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Betting & Online Casinos in Thailand 2018

ThailandGambling has a long history in Thai culture. And while the authorities may not always approve, little has stopped local players betting on Muay Thai (Thai Boxing), casino games, or horse racing over the years.

In nearby Vietnam, casino and gambling laws are beginning to relax. Singapore, Laos, and Cambodia are also starting to ease their betting regimes.

In Thailand, though, no specific laws have been passed to outlaw online casinos and internet gaming. So, are there real money online casinos Thailand residents can access or is it a case of risking hard-earned Baht (THB) at offshore sites? Let's explore the current state of gambling and betting in Thailand.

Many offshore casino sites now accept Thai residents and even permit deposits using THB. Sign up to the most trusted online casinos Thailand players can trust in 2018.

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Top Casino Sites in Thailand 2018

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Gambling Laws in Thailand in 2018

Since the military coup in Thailand in 2014, gambling (particularly illegal forms of gaming and betting) has been clamped down upon. There has been a concerted move by the new powers to "clean up" Thai society, and there is no doubt that illegal gambling is firmly in the crosshairs. However, the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 1999 has also paved the way for a suppression of corruption and other illegal activities, including gambling.

A 2016 raid on a Pattaya bridge club popular with tourists made world headlines. Over 30 foreign individuals, mostly from Australian and the UK, were arrested and charged with an archaic 1930s law against "gambling" on card games. And while the players were ultimately released, episodes like this aren't unheard of.

Much of Asia is opening up to the idea of legalised gambling. Certainly in some of Thailand's close neighbours like Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines, casinos are beginning to appear for the first time. Could the hot holiday hotspots of Pattaya and Koh Samui be next?

Lotteries & Horse Racing

While casinos are banned in Thailand, there is some gambling permitted by the government. One popular option that is offered is horse racing. The Royal Turf Club and Royal Bangkok Sports Club (RBSC) in Bangkok both regularly host races, and some pari-mutuel betting is allowed here. Many citizens in the city come out to the occasional public race days. There are also more intimate gatherings for members of high society, who enjoy racing through private clubs.

Perhaps the most popular legal way to gamble in the country is the National Lottery. First held in 1974, the lottery continues to this day, being drawn on the first and 16th day of each month. The lottery has some rather interesting aspects to it, not the least of which is that ticket prices vary depending on where you buy them: while all vendors charge some level of markup over the face value, exactly how much you pay depends on where you buy them. You might even get a discount on numbers that aren’t considered particularly lucky. Many locals spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to find lucky numbers to play in each drawing.

Outside of these offerings, however, all other forms of gambling are illegal in Thailand. There are no casinos, even as many of the other nations in the area have opened up facilities that are at least available to foreigners. In fact, many Thai gamblers take advantage of this, playing in venues in countries including Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Not surprisingly, this situation also leads to plenty of illegal gambling in the country. Underground lotteries are quite common: while these contests can’t offer the big jackpots of the official game, they do promise players better odds overall. Illegal sports betting and small “casinos” are common throughout the nation as well. Gambling raids by police are common, but they do little to stop the overall culture of lawless wagering.

Sports Betting & Poker

Though technically illegal, sports betting is rife in Thailand. Gambling on the national sport, Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) is rampant and done seemingly under the noses of the authorities.

While card games are frowned upon in live settings, online poker sites still accept Thai nationals. After Black Friday, when the online game was effectively shut down in the US, many pros migrated to Thailand in search of fast internet connections and a cheaper way of life. Since the military coup, however, many foreign online poker players have looked elsewhere to set up roots.

Best Deposit Methods for Thai Betting

It's possible to place bets at regulated overseas casinos online in 2018. In many cases, Thais can deposit using THB as well. While sites vary, it's not unusual to see minimum deposit limits of 250 baht. The range of deposit options can be limited, but all banking methods are secure.

Visa

Leading credit card supplier Visa is one of the most widely-accepted deposit options for gambling online. Safe and secure payments can be made from as little as 250 baht, but some casinos accept transfers up to 100,000 baht. Watch out for cash advance fees when using any credit card, however.

EntroPay

EntroPay is a fast prepaid card that allows Thai gamblers to fund their accounts without using a bank card. EntroPay accounts can be set up in baht and real cash transferred directly into a casino account. However, funds may have to be converted into GBP or USD before play.

AstroPay

AstroPay is another respected prepaid card that facilitates online gambling payments. It works like a virtual prepaid card that can be loaded up via an ATM or Thai debit and credit cards. To move real cash to a casino or betting site, just log in and supply the AstroPay card number, expiry date and four-digit security code. One benefit of AstroPay is the low minimum deposit of around 250 baht.

Live Betting and Casinos

There are no land-based casinos in Thailand. But that doesn't mean there aren't possibilities in the region. Both Cambodia and Vietnam have started to relax their casino laws. This has led to some serious new developments appearing in both countries.

Poipet, on the Cambodia/Thailand border, has several decent resorts including the Diamond City Hotel & Casino, Crown Casino, and Star Vegas Casino. As a main gambling hub, Poipet is extremely popular with Thai visitors denied land-based action back home. Indeed, casino gambling in Cambodia is forbidden for Cambodians but totally legal for foreign nationals. Thai gamblers are therefore actively encouraged.

Also bordering Thailand, Laos has several casinos at or near the Thai border. Kings Roman casino is the nearest resort to Chang Mai in the north of Thailand. It's open 24 hours and is also popular to Chinese tourists bringing in much-needed currency from across the northern Laos/China border.

Find the Best Online Casinos in Thailand in 2018

Not all internet gambling sites accept Thais in 2018. But when it comes to online casinos, Thailand gamblers can rely on the best reviews. We have a top selection of online casinos that Thais can access for real cash.

Interestingly, a change in legislation may be on the way. Thais are set to vote in the general election in 2018, and a new government could lead to legal land-based casinos. Until that happens, Thais will have to rely on overseas online casinos.

Thailand at a Glance

Population: 68 million

Legal Age of Gambling: 18

Land-based Casinos (Y/N): N

Online Casinos Legal (Y/N): N

Popular Games: Sports betting, horse racing, lottery

Brief History of Thai Casinos & Gambling

17th-18th Century - First gambling houses are established.

1820s - First formal lottery is introduced in Thailand.

1930 - First gambling act is passed. Legalised gambling is permitted in a limited number of provinces. After an outcry from the public, casino presence in the country is short-lived.

1935 - A law is introduced to curb gambling with cards. It becomes an offence to own more than 120 packs of cards.

1939 - The first Lottery Bureau is set up. It allows a monthly draw to take place.

1974 - National Lottery is set up. First draw is held legally in the country.

1989 - The Lottery rules are relaxed to allow a second draw per month.

2011 - First poker pros begin to migrate to Thailand following “Black Friday”.

2014 - Military coup sees new leadership begin to crack down on "illegal" betting.

2016 - Bridge club in Pattaya is raided by police over local citizens' allegations of "illegal" card games. 32 expats, some as old as 84, are arrested, although later released.

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