Thursday, July 7, 2016

Thailand - Gambling addiction rises among Thai youths

BANGKOK: — An academic seminar yesterday revealed a shocking finding of gambling addiction among Thai people showing lottery is their first gambling in life, and card game is most favourite among children with youngest gamblers aged only 7-year-old.

The seminar themed “Gambling Trend in Transition Period” was jointly hosted by the Thai National Health Foundation and the Thai Health Promotion Foundation.

The finding was based on the survey of 7,018 samples aged over 15 years old from 26 provinces. The youngest samples are 11 children whose ages are just 7 years old, and most favorite gamble is card games, followed by “namtao poo pla” or fish, prawn crab dice game, and lotteries.

According to Prof Nualnoi Trirat, director-general of the Centre for Gambling Studies, of the Faculty of Economics of Chulalongkorn University, the most favourite gambling among children age 7 is card game, followed by dice gambling and lotteries.

She said more than 60% of samples started first gambling under 20, and the most popular gambling is state lotteries, followed by underground lotteries, and football gambling.

The survey also showed that as football is now one of the most favourite sports in the Thai society attracting more Thai fans, particularly the Thai League, matches, the lucrative business of football gambling is also growing with the trend.

The Centre for Gambling Studies in the past year revealed that more than 1.9 million Thais are addicted to football gambling, 500,000 of which are women, generating cashflow of over 130 billion baht.

But the most popular form of gambling remains to be state lotteries with 19 million Thais trying at the chance of luck nationwide, followed closely by 16 million Thais for underground lotteries.

Both forms of gambling generated as high as over 200 billion baht cashflow.

In the past 12 months, the survey revealed that more than 27 million Thais had gambled, creating a cashflow of over 360 billion baht.

The seminar agreed that the problem of gambling addiction in Thailand has not been handled seriously and now it should be timely for the Department of Mental Health (DMH) to come and look into the situation closely as gambling addiction is considered a mental health issue, which could lead to other physical health.

It proposed that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) look into gambling seriously and raise it as a national agenda so that a special team should be appointed to seriously tackle the problem, citing example of more than 76,000 cases of gambling in the court.

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