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Red card: Thai police net 126 in Euro 2024 betting bust

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod English

Police arrested 126 individuals for betting on the 2024 UEFA European Football Championships (Euro 2024) matches over the weekend, the Royal Thai Police (RTP) confirmed yesterday.

Of those arrested, six were detained for facilitating the betting activities, while 117 were apprehended for participating in illegal betting. The remaining individuals, according to assistant national police chief Police Lieutenant General Akkaradej Pimolsri, were involved in distributing betting tickets to gamblers.

Many of the arrests occurred in nightclubs and other venues showing live broadcasts of the matches, where patrons were caught betting on the results. Police seized approximately 150 betting tickets and 11,000 baht in cash as evidence.

“Following these crackdowns, police stations nationwide have been instructed to intensify their efforts to suppress football gambling, including online betting rings.”

Entertainment venues showing live broadcasts of the Euro 2024 matches will face increased scrutiny. Authorities are urging the public to report football gambling activities via the police’s 191 or 1599 hotline numbers, available 24/7.

A recent survey by the Centre for Gambling Studies at Chulalongkorn University revealed that nearly three million young people had engaged in some form of online gambling over the past year, leading to a combined debt exceeding 770 million baht.

Conducted between January 20 and February 24 of last year, the survey utilised various methods, including face-to-face interviews, and involved 5,010 participants aged 15 to 25 across 19 provinces, reported Bangkok Post.

“The results highlight a significant issue among the youth as young people accrue substantial debts through online gambling.”

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ORIGINAL STORY: Thai police to tackle illegal football betting during Euro 2024

The Royal Thai Police is taking significant measures to combat illegal football betting ahead of the UEFA EURO 2024. The National Police Chief’s Office will establish prevention and suppression centres nationwide, urging strict enforcement against all forms of gambling.

A preparatory meeting chaired by the Assistant National Police Chief, Akharadej Phimonsri was held yesterday at the Royal Thai Police Headquarters. He announced that from tomorrow, June 14, to July 14, Euro 2024 will take place in Germany, with live broadcasts available globally.

Concerned about the potential rise in illegal betting, especially among students and young people, the National Police Chief’s Office has outlined several preventive and suppressive measures.

Akharadej emphasised that police units across the country, including the Metropolitan Police Bureau, Provincial Police Regions 1 to 9, Central Investigation Bureau, Tourist Police Bureau, Immigration Bureau, Technology Crime Suppression Division, and Border Patrol Police Bureau, will set up centres to combat illegal betting.

A designated commander or deputy commander will lead each centre, poised to officially open nationwide tomorrow.

Police officers, both in uniform and plain clothing, will be deployed to monitor entertainment venues and other locations broadcasting the matches. This step aims to prevent and rigorously investigate any illegal betting activities.

No loose ends

The Technology Crime Suppression Division will spearhead efforts to monitor and crack down on online gambling. Websites and Internet platforms advertising, promoting, or facilitating illegal betting will be investigated.

Should any illegal activities be detected, swift investigations and arrests will follow, and the relevant websites will be shut down promptly.

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Collaboration among government agencies, private sectors, and the public will be key. An integrated approach will be adopted to gather tips and information on illegal gambling activities. Accessible reporting channels will be established for the public to report any suspicious activities.

Comprehensive investigations will target not only the direct perpetrators but also the supporters, financiers, and betting networks.

If the cases involve unlicensed gambling with a turnover of 5 million baht or more, they will be treated as predicate offences under the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 1999. Strict enforcement of anti-money laundering measures will be applied in all such cases.

Public awareness campaigns will be launched to educate the populace on the dangers of gambling. Schools and parents will be urged to monitor and guide their children and students.

All police units will maintain close coordination. In case of significant arrests or high-profile cases, the centres will promptly report to their superiors and hold immediate press conferences, ensuring that the enforcement is effective and yields concrete results.

Akharadej expressed hope that the public will enjoy the Euro 2024 tournament responsibly without falling prey to gambling. He assured that police officers are dedicated to ensuring public safety and understanding, reported KhaoSod.

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