In a major operation in early May, Thai police apprehended a total of 94 individuals engaged in illegal gambling at an underground casino in the conference hall of a hotel located in the eastern province of Chon Buri. The majority of those detained were Indian nationals, with authorities revealing that 84 of them had arrived in Thailand just three days prior, specifically for the purpose of gambling.
Shockingly, some of the detainees claimed to have been misinformed by the organisers of the trip, who assured them that gambling was legal in Thailand. Neither online casinos, nor land based gambling is permitted in Thailand.
The crackdown involved more than 100 officers from the Bang Lamung police station, who effectively laid siege to the hotel before entering the transformed conference hall, which was now operating as a fully equipped casino complete with Baccarat tables and other gambling paraphernalia.
Inside, the authorities discovered not only the 84 Indian nationals but also six Thai individuals and four migrant workers from Myanmar. It was estimated that the illicit gambling operations witnessed daily wagers totaling over 500 million rupees, equivalent to roughly 200 million baht, with the entire spectacle being live streamed to India.
According to statements made by one of the Indian gamblers to the police, each player was required to open a credit account to purchase chips, with some players having credit lines reaching as high as six million baht. The scale of the operation revealed the magnitude of the illegal gambling industry in Thailand.
A Thai organiser identified as "Sitranan" reportedly confessed to renting the conference hall at a rate of 120,000 baht per day, asserting that the hotel management had no involvement in the illicit gambling activities.
Sitranan further explained that she had arranged accommodations and meals for the Indian gamblers, while the gambling equipment itself had been imported from India before the COVID-19 pandemic and had only recently been transported to the hotel.
In a stunning revelation, Sitranan claimed to have paid approximately 2.4 million baht in bribes to two individuals who had promised to ensure that local law enforcement would turn a blind eye to the casino's operations. She alleged that these individuals had connections that allowed them to protect the casino from interference.
It was unveiled that each Indian gambler had paid 50,000 baht for the gambling package tour organised by Sitranan, who also disclosed that there were two distinct groups of Indian tourists: one focused solely on gambling and the other on sightseeing.
Law enforcement officials affirmed that all gamblers and dealers involved would face charges for participating in illegal gambling activities. The authorities are determined to crack down on such operations, emphasising that Thailand maintains strict laws prohibiting gambling and that those who contravene these laws will be held accountable.
The raid on this illegal casino serves as a stern warning to individuals seeking to exploit the laws of Thailand for personal gain. It underscores the commitment of Thai law enforcement to maintain law and order, sending a clear message that illegal gambling activities will not be tolerated. The authorities will continue their efforts to dismantle such operations and uphold the integrity of the nation's laws.
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