The number of Thai gamblers has risen by 1.4 million since 2017 to reach 30.42 million this year. In total, 57 per cent of the population tried their luck. About 20 per cent of those in the 15-18 age group gamble. Government lottery is the most popular form of gambling, followed by illegal underground lotteries and football betting.
Bangkok (AsiaNews) – Gambling in Thailand is a growing problem, one that worries experts, above all, because it is spreading among the young.
A Centre for Gambling Studies (CGS) survey has found that some 700,000 people gambled for the first time this year. The youngest new punter was only seven years old.
According to CGS director Nualnoi Trirat, as of this month, 30.42 million Thais, or 57 per cent of the country's population, engaged in some form of gambling. This represents an increase of 1.4 million gamblers since the study began in 2017.
Of the 30.42 million gamblers, 733,000 were 15-18 years old or about 20 per cent of people in this age range; 3.05 million were aged 19-25 years (46 per cent); and 3.3 million gamblers were 60 or older (42 per cent).
The most popular form of gambling is the government lottery, followed by illegal underground lotteries and football betting.
"In terms of money generated by gambling activities, football betting came out top with about 160 billion baht (US.25 billion),” Ms Nualnoi said, “followed by the underground lottery with 153 billion baht (US billion), and government lottery with 150 billion baht (US.9 billion)".
According to the CGS director, media coverage of government lottery winners is pushing more and more Thais to play.
"The Government Lottery Office prints more than 100 million lottery tickets for each draw, which far outstrips the country's total population of about 68 million people," she explained. "This promotes a gambling habit, and incentivises people to buy more tickets."