Thailand online sports betting laws
Thailand is a nation that loves sport. Traditional activities such as Thai boxing are hugely popular, as are more contemporary sports like golf. However, it is not a nation that loves betting. All forms of wagering are illegal here – and the authorities are not slow to crack down on them.
Many of Thailand’s 70 million population adore sport. Plenty of them would also appreciate the opportunity to wager legally on their favorite sports, too, and it is estimated that up to 60 per cent of the population enjoys some form of gambling. However, virtually all this activity has to take place underground. This is because gambling in general, and sports betting in particular, is illegal under Thai law. Gambling is seen as a vice in Buddhism, which maintains a strong hold over society here.
Gambling is illegal under the Gambling Act of 1935 and there is even an act of parliament outlawing the possession of more than 120 playing cards without government permission. As recently as 2020, the government worked with other state agencies to block almost 200 websites, mostly online casinos. The only places in Thailand where sports betting is allowed are racecourses and Thai boxing arenas and wagering can take place only at the venue. Despite all of these restrictions, millions of people take the risks of engaging in some form of gambling.
The only way to enjoy online sports betting in Thailand is through the many offshore sportsbooks whose offerings are available to people in the country. Many of these are highly reputable, well established international operations with long histories in the world of bookmaking. However, if you do decide to wager with one of them, it is advisable to keep it a secret. To access an online bookmaker, you should set up a virtual private network (VPN) so that your activities are not easily traceable. Similarly, it is unwise to try to bet through your bank. The best option is to set up an e-wallet through a provider such as Entropay or Neteller that you can use for wagering and is not associated with your personal bank.
If you are prepared to take these steps, there is every chance that you can enjoy a positive sports betting experience with one of the most prestigious sportsbooks available. However, you must be aware of the risks that the government could block access to your chosen website and you could lose your money.
One of the only places where legal sports betting takes place in Thailand is at the racecourse. There are two horse racing tracks in Bangkok and five more dotted around the country. These courses operate a pari-mutuel, or pool betting, system that uses decimal odds to display the probability of a particular result. Decimal odds are the most prevalent format across the world, in part because they are the easiest to understand – although when you are pool betting, the prices are indicative until a dividend is declared following the race.
If you decide to back the favorite in the first race at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club, the odds might be displayed as 4.0. This means if you wager $10, you will receive $40 back if your horse wins. With fractional odds, popular in the UK and Ireland, the same horse would be quoted at 3/1. On the moneyline, used in North America, it would be +300. Your returns would be the same; but these formats do not include your stake.
Golf has established itself in recent years as the most popular sport in Thailand. There are now 250 courses across the nation, and people flock there to enjoy the game. Since 1999, the country has been home to the All Thailand Golf Tour, a professional series that had grown to feature 12 tournaments by 2019. The most famous Thai golfer is Thongchai Jaidee, who has played on the Asian Tour and the DP World Tour. However, there are many following in his footsteps as the popularity of the sport at home creates a conveyor belt of talent to the highest level.
There is plenty of gambling going in Thailand – but virtually none of it is legal. All forms of gambling are outlawed by law, except for the state-run lottery and betting in person at horse racing tracks and Thai boxing arenas. Many people do enjoy gambling in the country, but usually with underground bookmakers and casinos.
Online sports betting is against the law in Thailand, and there are no sportsbooks licensed to offer markets to the country’s 70 million inhabitants. The only way to bet online on sport is to use a VPN and an e-wallet to sign up and wager with an offshore sportsbook, but this is an activity that comes with risk.
Thai boxing remains the national sport of Thailand and still attracts big interest, with huge crowds attending bouts across the nation. However, the most popular sport in terms of participation and spectator interest is now golf, which has grown significantly in Thailand in recent decades.