Legalization of Casinos in Thailand: World Giants are Ready for a New Market!

Today the focus of attention of the iGaming industry is directed to the Asian market: Macau, Singapore, India. Thailand has also come under the spotlight as a super interesting GEO for the promotion of gambling offers. Multilingualism is prevalent here and there is no official online gambling legislation. It’s a good start, but before you prepare your business for a new region, let’s understand the nuances of launching an online casino in Thailand.

  • Thailand — Prathet Thai, meaning “land of the free”, has maintained independence since 1238
  • Population —  67.5 million, of which more than 57 million are internet users
  • Average age of a player — 40 years old
  • Average salary per month — $450
  • Currency —  Thai baht
  • Language —  Thai
  • Major cities: capital Bangkok, and Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai, Nonthaburi, Hatay

How is Thailand’s gambling market doing?

Right now, Galaxy Entertainment Group and MGM Resorts International are exploring the potential of opening resort casinos in the country. Las Vegas Sands Corp. is also showing interest in the region. But there are still some things that confuse large and small players in the market. It’s all about the long-running debate over the regulation of gambling in Thailand, which seems to last forever.

Although gambling is still in the process of being fully legalized, Thais never tire of placing their bets and showing an irresistible passion for gambling.

«Thai players spend more than $32 million on online gambling annually», — data from the Ministry of Digital Economy & Society

The country’s economy and its gambling sector demonstrate:

  • Annual GDP growth in 2023 reaches a mark of 3.43%
  • Service sector accounts for 56% at the beginning of 2023 due to strong tourism development and successful reforms
  • Revenue in the iGaming market reaches $488 million

The total number of gambling users in the country is expected to exceed 1.6 million users by 2027

Thailand and the Place of Gambling in the Country

Since 1935, gambling has been partially legalized in Thailand. Only sports betting on horse races and the Thai lottery GLO are under state control. It’s regularly played by more than 19 million Thais, i.e. about 30% of the population.

But the green light for iGaming has already been lit: not so long ago, some representatives of the law began to actively fight for the legalization of gambling. Today, this attempt has grown into a full-fledged bill, which has been under consideration since 2022.

And the first person to call on the Thai authorities to legalize the gambling sector was the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Somsak Thepsuthin: “The current legislation in this area is outdated and does not bring any dividends to the state in the form of increased tax revenues. Thanks to regulation we will be able to increase the budget for social needs of the state”

Today, the casino landscape in Thailand is still taking shape as details remain unclear. Investors are keeping abreast, expecting a veritable gold rush among multinational and local operators here in the next 3 years. Everyone is waiting for the regulation of gambling at the legislative level.

What Attracts Players to Thailand?

The audience from the Southeast Asian region is maximally gambling. Thai people are no exception, because they are ready to spend hours in live casinos, slots and poker games. Most of all they are attracted to:

  • Welcome bonuses
  • Time-limited free bets
  • “Spin the Wheel” promotions
  • Various tournaments
  • Games like Blackjack, Roulette, Sic Bo
  • Advertising of all the features of the selected casino (e.g. VIP-programs, cryptocurrency payments, success stories of winners, etc.).

A TGM Research survey conducted in 2022 found that 18% of Thais have participated in online gambling. Currently, there are about 200 illegal gambling establishments operating in the country, and the residents themselves also have access to offshore sites or can easily travel to neighboring countries where gambling is regulated.

Problems on the Way to the Legalization

The main “stopper” in the issue of casino legalization remains political instability in the country. Today it stands on the 101st place in the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International. “Opponents” of gambling in Thailand are Buddhists and operators of underground casinos.

The possibility of legalizing gambling in the “land of the free” may be affected:

  • Willingness of international companies to cooperate with Thai organizations
  • Establishment of a rigorous and internationally compliant legal and policy framework
  • Learning from the experience of neighboring countries: for example, Singapore opened two casino resorts in 2010 and this led to an increase in government budgets by more than 20% in two years

If Thailand implements a regulatory model like the one in Singapore, the participation of the leading operators is unavoidable.

Gambling in Thailand is Ready to Make Its Mark on the World

«Thailand has a unique opportunity to become one of the most successful gaming jurisdictions in the world», — notes Spectrum Gaming Group Managing Director Frederick Gushin

The online gambling industry in Thailand has a lot of potential. Given the scale of the country’s population and the annual influx of tourists, everyone is looking forward to opening doors for investors in the world of gambling and creating a favourable legal environment.

 

Be the first to take Thailand’s iGaming industry to new heights. Contact the experts at GamingLicensing for professional advice and assistance in entering the new gambling market with your project. We have vast experience in working with different regulatory bodies and GEOs, we offer winning business strategies for the whole Asian market, we help you with operational and technical aspects of iGaming projects, their licensing in different jurisdictions. Write to the GamingLicensing manager for more information. It’s about to get hot in Thailand, make sure you get in first!

Nov 30, 2023
Igor Rumyantsev
Igor is the Head of Banking and Licensing Department at GamingLicensing who has over 15 years of experience in the industry. He is responsible for game and payment system integration, iGaming product licensing, and B2B certification. Igor is an expert in the gambling sector and game licensing. He keeps a close watch on industry trends and is always open to new ideas that can improve GamingLicensing’s services and help our clients.