Online gambling alerts child defenders in Thailand
Operation plan designed to deter teens from betting
The growing popularity of online games and e-sports amongst Thai youth and children is worrying child protection advocates about the possibility of exploitation in order to lure more young people into gambling.
About 3.6 million young people are involved in some forms of illegal gambling – of which 2 million are men and the rest are women said Prachuaplap, secretary-general of the Thailand Youth Institute, citing results of a study by Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Economics.
On average, these young players owe about 3,500 baht each as a result of their habit, Mr. Phacharaphan said, citing information from the same study that was conducted in 2017.
Dr. Mathurada Suwannapho, director of the Rajanukul Institute – an institution under the Department of Mental Health specializing in child and adolescent psychology – said, while online games and e-sports attract a large number of young people, thanks to easy accessibility There is a high risk that many of them will be tempted to later switch to gambling for teams that support them.
E-sports and online games are already linked to online betting services on certain computer programs and mobile smartphone applications, where users can not only play a game online and online gambling sector with the potential threat of a ban on credit card transactions , but also make in-game purchases, chat with others, and make other payments. online, said the doctor.
Dr. Mathurada spoke at a seminar on online gambling issues facing children and adolescents on Thursday hosted by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC).
In the case of e-sports, viewers can watch a tournament and bet on the outcome at the same time, she said.
That way, most young viewers can easily be lured into online gambling, she said.
“These children and adolescents are unaware that online gaming and e-sports are already linked to [illegal] online gambling,” she said.
In order to curb adolescent gambling problems, a plan of action has already been put in place to prevent young people from engaging in gambling and mitigate the effects of gambling that’s rampant on Thai children and youths, said Phongthon Chantharatsami, head of the Information Center for Gambling Control by the National Health Foundation and Evolution Gaming Crackdown.
“In particular, the situation of online gambling is now very critical, because it is easy to access the Internet,” he said.
And while it usually takes months to close an illegal online gambling website, it only takes a few minutes to create a new one, he said.
Worse still, the 1935 Gambling Act does not even include the definition of online gambling, which means that the authorities currently also have to refer to the Computer Crime Act when trying to prosecute someone for offering an online gambling service, he said.