The Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan-O-Cha (pictured), has reportedly announced that his administration may look into legalizing casino gambling as a way of helping the nation of 67 million people to control the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a Saturday report from the Bangkok Post newspaper, Thailand has recently been experiencing a steep rise in coronavirus infections with officials subsequently pointing the finger of blame squarely at the country’s large number of illegal gambling dens as well as casinos in the neighboring nations of Cambodia and Malaysia.
Although casino gambling is currently illegal in Thailand, Prayut reportedly used a Friday press conference for the nation’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to suggest that legalizing such activities could help to stop the potentially-lethal contagion from spreading. As such and the 66-year-old purportedly detailed that he is open to holding public discussions regarding the pros and cons of legalized gambling after admitting that the country is finding it hard to stamp out illicit operations.
Formerly a top general with the Royal Thai Army, Prayut came to power via a controversial military coup in 2014 and furthermore reportedly pronounced that he is personally opposed to gambling but would still be willing to ask the general population for their thoughts on whether the activity is moral and should be legalized.
The newspaper reported that Prayut moreover used the CCSA gathering to herald the launch of a 15-member committee to scrutinize illegal border crossings, which is also being seen as a contributary factor in the country’s coronavirus crisis, in addition to a ten-person group to oversee state-run investigations into illicit gambling. Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister, Wissanu Krea-Ngam, purportedly told the newspaper that these two bodies are to likewise collaborate with the nation’s existing Anti-Money Laundering Office in an effort to better track the considerable amounts of cash generated by these illegal activities.
Wissanu reportedly told the Bangkok Post…
“I believe these committees should be able to, to some extent, win the trust of the public. After all, locals are believed to know best about what’s going on in their communities, so they are being urged to cooperate with these authorities.”