Thai gambling arrests soar during World Cup

Police in Thailand arrested three times as many gambling suspects during the FIFA World Cup this year than they did during the prior tournament in 2014, The Nation reports.

A special center tasked with cracking down on illegal gambling arrested 15,007 punters, including three minors under 18, 695 bookies and 166 gambling ticket runners during May 1-July 15.

Police also seized evidence and the assets of suspects totalling THB51.2 million ($1.5 million), deputy national police chief Chalermkiat Srivorakhan told reporters at the Royal Thai Police head office in Bangkok.

The highest number of arrests were made during the final, when France beat Croatia. A total of 1,000 cases were recorded.

In 2014, 4,679 punters, 258 bookies and 127 ticket runners were rounded up.

Chalermkiat noted that police had been monitoring 11 target provinces for loans during the month-long World Cup 2018, the newspaper reports. They found that loans were taken out more frequently and for higher monetary values than was normal. Police believe many people have gone into debt – some for as much as THB1 million – so that they could place bets.