Thai Authorities Arrest 15 Individuals for Illegal Gambling in Phuket

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Thai authorities are stepping up efforts to crack down on illegal gambling operations in the country, with police recently arresting 15 individuals in Phuket for participating in illegal gambling activities in an abandoned shopping center. The raid was prompted by anonymous tips from concerned citizens who reported the presence of an illegal snooker hall that was accepting wagers.

According to reports, the suspects were apprehended in the basement of the shopping center, where they were caught participating in illegal gambling operations. The police were able to confiscate various items, including playing cards, cash, CCTV cameras, computer technology, and other incriminating evidence.

The individual running the illegal gambling event will be charged with the more serious crime of hosting unlawful gambling, while the other 14 suspects will only be charged with participating in the activity at an unlicensed venue.

The crackdown on illegal gambling is part of Thailand's ongoing efforts to curb unlawful activities in the online and land-based casino gambling sectors. This move comes at a time when Thailand is considering the possibility of legalizing casino resorts similar to the ones that are set to be built in Japan.

Currently, Thailand is conducting a feasibility study to determine the viability of such projects in the country. Initial assessments suggest that Thailand could accommodate up to five such locations, with casinos that cannot exceed 5% of the total floor space of the projects.

These integrated resorts would offer a range of amenities and tourist attractions, including five-star hotels, spas, amusement parks, indoor and outdoor sports facilities, business and meeting spaces, zoos, and other features that could attract leisure and business tourists.

Illegal gambling operations have been targeted in Thailand, regardless of the organizers. Recently, a high-profile Indian gambling investor was among 83 people arrested at a Pattaya hotel. The investor, Chikoti Praveen Kumar, allegedly ran a casino from his hotel room and is believed to be responsible for around $12 million in illegally placed wagers.

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