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Thai Casino Raid Revives Gambling Debate

24 June 2005

THAILAND – As reported by the Bangkok Post: "The Taopoon casino raid has renewed government interest in sounding out public opinion on legalising casinos, as critics claim the bust was orchestrated to justify bringing gambling dens within the law.

"Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said the Taopoon casino was just one of many illegal gambling outlets, some of which were owned by politicians.

"In certain localities, corrupt policemen pocketed 'easy cash' guarding underground casinos. People abandoned honest jobs to try their luck and became addicted to gambling.

"…Mr Thaksin was asked if people should 'face up to reality' and embrace the idea of legalising casinos.

"He said the issue should be given serious thought, and the debate taken up at national level. A nationwide public hearing should be held to sound out public opinion, so there would be no complaints later.

"…The best time to ask would be at the next general election when voters could cast an extra ballot for or against legalising casinos…"

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