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Thailand to Consider Legalising Casinos

30 October 2003

BANGKOK, Thailand -- As reported by the New Straits Times: "Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said today his Government would consider legalising casinos after a raid on a luxurious floating gambling den in the Gulf of Thailand last week.

"The Ukrainian-registered 'Olvia' was dramatically stormed by Thai commandos, who arrested 58 gamblers and seized 10 million baht (US$250,844) in cash and chips worth two billion baht.

"Asked whether the boat's capture and an ensuing crackdown on similar boats believed to be operating in the gulf might lead Thailand to finally legalise casinos, Thaksin said the decision needed to be made cautiously.

"...'We will try to bring the underground up above ground.' The premier said the government did not need the revenue legalised casinos would bring to the kingdom but said it could go towards solving social issues affecting children.

"...Thailand's tourism minister called for a decision on whether casinos could be legalised after a study found gambling transferred huge amounts of money to police and politicians..."

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