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Deputy Prime Minister Advocates for Legalizing Online Betting in Thailand
Deputy Prime Minister Somsak Thepsutin of Thailand has thrown his support behind the idea of legalizing online sports betting to boost government income. He believes that allowing certain forms of online gambling could prove beneficial to both the state and the public. Somsak, who oversees the Department of Justice, expressed his views before a cabinet meeting, emphasizing the potential revenue from sports taxation that the government currently misses out on due to the lack of legalization.
Boosting State Revenue Through Taxation
Somsak suggested that adopting taxation principles similar to those established by the Ministry of Interior for these activities could significantly enhance state revenue. He intends to collaborate with the Office of Strategic Transformation to formulate a plan for government agencies to address this matter in more detail. The Deputy Prime Minister also highlighted the social benefits of legalized betting, as tax revenue could support vulnerable groups, such as the disabled, elderly, and underprivileged children, aligning with Thailand’s status as an “upper middle-income country” striving for economic improvement.
Addressing Cybercrime and Police Resources
Prasert Jantararuangtong, the Minister of Digital Economy and Society, reported that Thailand has resolved around 6,000 cybercrime cases this year, resulting in the closure of approximately 4,400 online gaming platforms. Legalizing online sports betting could alleviate some of these issues and allow law enforcement to redirect resources toward more serious crimes.
Investigating Police Involvement in Online Gambling
The push for legalized online gaming coincides with a significant police operation that involved investigating police officers allegedly linked to online gambling. Raids were conducted across six provinces following reports of eight police officers’ involvement in such activities. Deputy National Police Chief Surachate Hakparn, one of the targets of the raids, denies any involvement and has filed legal claims against prosecutors for alleged falsifications leading to the raid. In response to the situation, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced the establishment of an investigative panel tasked with examining accusations of police engagement in online gambling. The three-person committee will investigate the recent raids and future incidents.