A new survey has found that 30.42 million Thais, or 57 percent of the population, have participated in gambling this year, despite a government ban.
The survey was released by the Centre for Gambling Studies, Faculty of Economics at Chulalongkorn University, and based on data collected from a survey of 44,050 people across 77 provinces, local media reports.
The total figure is 1.49 million more than in 2017 and includes 700,000 first time gamblers.
The survey also showed that about 733,000 in the 15-18-year age bracket had also participated. This is 20.9 percent of the youth population, the report said. Meanwhile, 3.05 million, or 46.3 percent of young adults aged 19-25, are also known to bet.
In the senior group of aged 60 and above, a total of 3.35 million, or 42.2 percent of the senior population admitted they had gambled. The report said that the youngest gambler is seven years old.
Out of the gambling forms, betting on football was the highest with THB160.5 billion ($5.3 billion), while illegal lotteries took in THB153.2 billion. The legal government lottery collected THB150.4 billion.
The only legal forms of gambling in Thailand are on horse racing at the Bangkok Turf Club and the government lottery.