Over a million Thai gamblers racked up Bt11.4 billion in debts in 2019
The majority, or 76 per cent, of 44,050 respondents aged over 15 years across Thailand said they have gambled before, while about half said they had started when they were less than 20, with the lowest starting age recorded at 7 years, said a study by the Centre for Gambling Studies at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Economics.
According to the research, which studied Thais’ gambling habits and the resulting effects in 2019, some 96 per cent of respondents said they have known or are related to someone who gambles regularly.
The study estimated the number of gamblers by region as follows:
Northeast: 10.9 million people, an increase of 404,100 people from the last study in 2017;
Central: 5.58 million, increasing by 259,100;
North: 5.2 million, increasing by 163,500;
Bangkok and perimeter areas: 4.62 million, increasing by 418,300 people;
South: 4.09 million, increasing by 204,600.
Thailand has an estimated 30.4 million gamblers.
“Although most are in the working age group, it is worrisome that around 733,000 children aged 15-18 also gamble, with an estimated Bt10.2 billion of money rotating,” the study said. “Meanwhile, 3.05 million in the age range of 19-25 years gamble, with some Bt58.8 billion rotating.”
The most popular gambling is carried out for government lottery, followed by illegal lottery, card games, football pools and high-low bets. However, football pools have the most money rotating, at around Bt160.5 billion, followed by illegal lottery at Bt153.1 billion and government lottery Bt150.4 billion.
The study also estimated that about 1.068 million Thais who gambled in 2019 have accumulated gambling debts of up to Bt11.46 billion, or Bt10,738 per person.
Meanwhile, 9.8 per cent of respondents said that gambling has negatively affected their daily lives as they have become indebted, are under stress, have arguments with spouses and family members, have lost time working or studying, and are experiencing deteriorating health.