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Recommendations against legalising casinos 2003-06-12
National Economic and Social Advisory Council has created a new working group on the black economy. The group set its opinions against legalizing casino and football betting, but approves the underground lottery. The government had asked the advisory body to study the prospect of legalizing casinos, the underground lottery and football betting last year. Chairman of the working group, Sitthichoke Sricharoen, after a six-month study came to the conclusion that legalizing casino and football betting would weaken Thai society, which is shaken and unstable as it is now. A large part of the participators in the council are worried about the negative impact it would have on minors if casino and football betting were legal. They all agree there is more to lose than gain from their legalization-socially and financially. "The economic advantages were not obvious. There was no warranty that once lawful casinos were set up in Thailand, players visiting border casinos, Malaysia's Highlands and Macau would pass on to Thai casinos and the country would be given more profits from such commences," Mr Sitthichoke said. The board had recommended four key acts in order to manage gambling activities. First: Amending obsolete gambling laws. Second: Urging the government to slow down restrictions and allow traditional and local gambling actions, such as funeral gambling to take place to relieve the pressure on clients. Third: Issue a authorization to restrict times and places for gambling activities so that hiding from the police or pay bribes as they usually do to keep their illegal operations running will no longer be necessary. Fourth: Lottery, the way they see it, is not as damaging to society as casino and football betting are considered. "The secretive lottery is a way of life as well as a glimmer of hope for the poor. It occupies more than 20 million people," he said. It keeps the hope close-by and not less important-it is reachable no matter what your status is.... The underground lottery was mainly being played because state lotto did not serve the needs of the majority. It was too expensive for the lower level of society and their chances of winning were equally bad. The group suggested the government reform the lottery system if it wanted to attract the poor. The panel's suggestions are not to be accepted immediately but are soon to be re-considered by the advisory council and if an agreement will be reached, it will be sent to cabinet for an additional approval.
(By Liat)