Reimagining gambling regulations, Deputy Prime Minister Somsak Thepsutin proposes the legalization of other forms of wagering, including football betting. His intention is to funnel additional tax revenue into improving the lives of those in dire need. Speaking from the Government House this Tuesday, Mr. Somsak provides an alternative perspective on the arrest of internet gambling suspects and the subsequent raid of suspected sites that transpired on Monday.
Spearheaded by cybercrime units, a series of Monday crackdowns ensnared several locations in Bangkok. Notably, the dragnet caught the residences of Deputy National Police Chief, Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, in its wake. These actions were part of an aggressive takedown of an expansive online betting ring.
“Certainly, placing bets on cock and bull fights is entirely legal,” Mr. Somsak pointed out. “However, more traditional forms of betting, like those typically placed on football, have not been sanctioned. This leaves a significant amount of potential tax revenue off the table, neither benefiting our government nor our public.” He advocates for such gambling activities to fall under the purview of the Interior Ministry’s licensing authorities, thereby making this potentially lucrative source of income a legitimate one.
Taking initiative, he has called upon appropriate officials for a thorough examination of this possibility, with plans to present his findings to the cabinet in due course. “The potential benefits cannot be overlooked,” Mr. Somsak elaborates. “Online gambling hosts vast sums of money that, if redirected, could significantly uplift those most in need in our society.” Particularly, he has in mind individuals with disabilities, the elderly populace, and underprivileged children.
In parallel, Digital Economy and Society Minister Prasert Chantararuangthong makes known that approximately 4,400 gambling websites have already been shut down by his ministry during the year. In this same duration, legal steps have been taken in around 6,000 instances of online gambling. Despite these commendable efforts, the vision of a revised, more socially beneficial gaming environment as proposed by Deputy Prime Minister Somsak appears to harbour a promising compromise between the practicality of regulation and the public good.