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SBD Global/June 24, 2014/World Cup

Thailand's Military Leaders Crack Down On Illegal World Cup Gambling

Thailand’s military leaders "are cracking down on illegal gambling" during the World Cup as part of a campaign to clean up the country and restore its image, according to Amy Sawitta Lefevre of REUTERS. The national police force said on Monday that "it had arrested 1,677 people involved in World Cup betting from June 9 to 21 and shut down 675 illegal gambling websites." Deputy police spokesperson Anucha Romyanan said, “Thais are quite addicted to gambling and the World Cup is a period when gambling spikes." Apart from horse racing and the national lottery, "most forms of gambling are illegal in Thailand, including casinos and Internet wagering." But gambling "remains a popular national pastime." Many Thais cross the border to play in Cambodian casinos, "while others bet illegally on sports such as ‘Muay Thai,' or Thai boxing." Thais "are expected to spend" around 45B baht ($1.4B) on World Cup betting (REUTERS, 6/23). The AFP reported Singapore police on Monday said that "they have arrested 15 people in a crackdown on illegal betting during intense World Cup fever in the city-state, which has become notorious for football linked crime." The suspects, 14 men and one woman aged between 23 and 70, "were detained in raids on Saturday" (AFP, 6/23).
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