Thailand Predicts Increase in Gambling Addiction During Euro 2024

With the world eagerly looking forward to Euro 2024, there are worries that it will lead to a spike in problem gambling amongst Thai football fans who become addicted to betting on the matches.

Concerns over gambling addiction in Thailand rise as Euro 2024 approaches.

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Kongkan Takhiranyit, the director’s assistant at the Thai Health Promotion Foundation’s social risk control promotion department explained that a survey carried out by Chulalongkorn University in 2021 found that football betting was the fourth most popular form of gambling in the country. An important update for Thailand is that it’s government is currently working on a new casino legalization plan.

She said that in 2021, 3.8 million Thai people bet on football, an increase of 300,000 from 2019. It is thought that Thai gamblers have lost 181.68 billion baht betting on football and she is expecting more Thais to become addicts during the upcoming tournament.

As such, the Foundation is working with various organizations to encourage fans to enjoy the sport without betting. During the tournament, it is launching campaigns in Chiang Mai, Si Sa Ket, Chonburi, Suphanburi and Trang to increase awareness of gambling harms.

Gambling Addiction Recognized as a Disease

Thanakorn Komkrit, secretary of the Stop Gambling Foundation, explained that the WHO has classified gambling addiction as a disease as it can lead to an insatiable desire for reward and that this can result in changed brain function as the anticipation of rewards from betting floods the body with adrenaline.

He demonstrated his point with examples of high-profile professional football players who have developed gambling addictions, such as Peter Shilton and Paul Merson.

Related: Thai Police Chief and Deputy Suspended in Shocking Gambling Probe

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Looking Abroad for Solutions

Thanakorn called for urgent solutions to be found to address gambling addiction in Thailand as it is causing harm to young people’s quality of life and the sports industry. He believes the answer lies in finding alternative and creative ways for people to enjoy sports competitions.

He also drew attention to restrictions brought in by other countries, such as the UK’s ban on professional sportspeople providing tips that could lead to gambling. Thanakorn quoted England goalkeeper Shilton’s words after recovering from a gambling addiction:

Addiction is giving up everything for one thing, recovery is giving up one thing for everything.

Peter ShiltonFormer Professional Footballer

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