Thai Police Arrest 1,500+ Suspects, Seize $7.8m in Ongoing Euro 2024 Betting Sting

  • Police shuttered two illegal Euro 2024 sports betting sites, seizing over $7.8m
  • Raids on Chinese nationals suspected of running the sites netted cash, luxury cars
  • Brick-and-mortar arrests included 1,503 gamblers, 65 bookmakers, ten runners
Euro 2024 soccer ball
Thai police have arrested thousands and seized assets worth millions in its crackdown on illegal Euro 2024 betting. [Image:]

Illegal betting frenzy

Despite the group stages of the Euro 2024 soccer tournament still underway, police in Thailand have already arrested over 1,000 people in an ongoing betting sting and recently seized over 287m baht ($7.8m).

35 million of Thailand’s adult population gambling illegally

While betting on some bloodsports is legal in Thailand, most other forms of gambling are not. Soccer is wildly popular in the country, plus with around 35 million of Thailand’s adult population gambling illegally, the European soccer showcase in Germany was always going to tempt illicit operators to take advantage.

Anticipating this, the Royal Thai Police established a Center for Prevention and Suppression of Illegal Gambling specifically for Euro 2024, with both online and brick-and-mortar activities under scrutiny.

Operation Shutdown Euro Bet is the cyber arm of the police operation, which on Friday revealed the results of its takedown of Euro 2024 soccer betting websites wm88 and x-stand.

Police arrested 64 people suspected of involvement in the two illegal sites and seized over $7.8m in assets.

Chinese network

Thai news site cited Chief of the Technology Crime Suppression Division Police, Lieutenant General Worawat Watnakornbancha, and a cyber police team as announcing the two sports betting websites were run by a Chinese-led network.

Police first raided a home in the Thonglor area of Bangkok, arresting a Chinese couple and seizing over 10m in Thai baht ($273,000) and US$3,200, plus assets including a 20m baht ($546,000) Bentley, a Mercedes, and a GWM Tank 500 SUV.

estimating the two sites generated a cash flow of 1.4bn baht ($38.1m)

Officials swooped next on a luxury condo in Phrom Phong, one of the busiest tourist areas along Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Road, arresting one Chinese man and four Thai nationals. Police seized a total of over $7.8m, with Thai officials estimating the two sites generated a cash flow of 1.4bn baht ($38.1m) from January through June 2024.

Authorities charged all suspects of jointly “conducting illegal electronic gambling and money laundering.”

The bust of the Chinese network was merely the Thai cyber police’s latest success in its ongoing Euro 2024 crackdown. Officials previously arrested 248 suspects between June 14 and June 20 and shut down 62 illegal sports betting websites with the total wagering activity estimated at 1.4bn baht ($38m).

Brick-and-mortar busts

While the online busts grabbed the headlines for the big money, police raids on illegal gambling dens across Thailand made news for the number of suspects arrested.

1,578 suspects apprehended for watching and illegally betting on Euro 2024

Of the 1,578 suspects apprehended for watching and illegally betting on Euro 2024 at brick-and-mortar dens, 1,503 were gamblers, 65 were bookmakers, and ten were runners.

With police continuing their crackdown until the soccer showdown ends on July 14, holding cells and evidence vaults in Thailand will likely fill to maximum capacity by the time one team is crowned kings of Europe in Munich.

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