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Major Indian Online Gambling Operation Busted in Pattaya

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Today in Pattaya, police raided a house suspected to be the headquarters of a major Indian online gambling network. The operation revealed daily transactions exceeding 200 million rupees, equivalent to about 100 million Thai baht.

The raid took place at noon on June 11th, led by a coordinated team from the Chonburi Provincial Police, Pattaya Police, Nongprue Police, Anti-Transnational Crime Division, and Pattaya Tourist Police. Acting on a tip-off from concerned citizens, officers secured a search warrant from the Pattaya Provincial Court to investigate the house located on Soi Sukhumvit 91/2.

Over 50 officers participated in the raid, surrounding the property and discovering nearly 10 Indian men actively working on computers and handling phone calls for various online gambling games, such as baccarat, poker, slots, and sports betting. Additional Indian nationals were found sleeping in an upstairs bedroom, bringing the total number of suspects to 21. The suspects, identified as Indian nationals, included individuals on student and tourist visas, while some lacked passports entirely. None possessed legal work visas or permits, which are not issued for illegal gambling activities.

Authorities seized significant evidence from the scene, including four desktop computers, eight laptops, over 50 mobile phones, and numerous Thai SIM cards. They also discovered three clocks set to the time in India, Dubai, and Thailand, along with handwritten notes in Hindi detailing work schedules, bank account numbers, and gambling rules, plastered on the house walls.

During initial questioning, one suspect admitted that the house had been rented for 30,000 baht per month since August 2023. The occupants functioned as call center operators, managing money transfers for seven online gambling websites hosted on servers in the Philippines. Most of their clientele hailed from India, with a smaller number from Dubai. Each operator worked an 8-hour shift daily.

Some suspects entered Thailand legally, while others had overstayed their visas. Police believe additional suspects who were not present during the raid are still at large within Chonburi.

All detained suspects will face charges related to illegal gambling and immigration violations before being deported and blacklisted from Thailand.

Gambling Legislation in Thailand

Gambling in Thailand is heavily regulated and largely illegal under the Gambling Act of 1935. This law prohibits most forms of gambling, including casinos, sports betting, and online gambling, with only a few exceptions such as the state-run lottery and horse racing at designated tracks. Violations can result in severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment. The strict regulations reflect cultural and religious beliefs, particularly Buddhism, which discourages gambling due to its potential to cause social and economic harm. Despite these laws, illegal gambling remains widespread, driven underground, and poses a continual challenge for law enforcement.

There have been numerous cases of gambling operators being arrested in Thailand, underscoring the ongoing efforts to combat illegal gambling. For instance, in 2020, Thai authorities conducted a major crackdown on an illegal online gambling network operating across multiple provinces, resulting in the arrest of over 100 individuals and the seizure of substantial assets. Similarly, in 2022, a high-profile raid in Bangkok led to the arrest of several people running an unauthorized casino. These operations often reveal sophisticated networks involving both local and international elements, highlighting the complexity and persistence of illegal gambling activities despite stringent laws and enforcement efforts.


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