Anti-gambling campaigners aim for a win over football world cup betting

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Anti-gambling advocates held a parade in Bangkok on Thursday just hours ahead of the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, carrying their message to youths in particular and promoting a campaign that aims to stamp out betting on tournament matches.

Police crackdown targeting online bet making

The campaign will send out positive messages to stop gambling, via various channels. Students from different universities are also producing short films of an anti-gambling nature to be shown online and in roadshows to 100 secondary schools around Thailand.

The advocates backed up their parade with a 2017 survey which found that 2.4 million Thais had engaged in football, or soccer, gambling worth a total THB 140 billion (USD 4.3 billion), and that 82.6 percent of secondary student punters had become involved in gambling via football betting.

Thai Health Promotion Foundation committee member Wichet Pichairat, who took part in the parade along with representatives of the government, police and youths, said it was thought over 10 percent of Thai youths would bet on matches in this world cup tournament.

He cited research on youth gambling during the 2016 UEFA European Championship that showed 16.8 percent of youths surveyed bet on football. About 10 percent of them initially didn’t intend to gamble but succumbed to peer pressure or were swept up in the atmosphere of the moment.

And about 40 percent of these said they then faced subsequent problems such as lower academic performance, stress over gambling debt they didn’t know how to pay and being cheated.

Meanwhile deputy national police chief, Pol Gen Chalermkiat Srivorakan confirmed police would continue in their crackdown on football gambling, including online betting. He warned that youths caught gambling on the world cup tournament could face up to three months in jail or a maximum fine of THB 30,000 (USD 925) or both, while their parents would face charges too.

Photo: Stop Gambling Foundation on Facebook

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