Police chief to launch pro-casinos website

Police chief to launch pro-casinos website

Students show bricks as a symbol of what they think of the push by some National Reform Council members to legalise casinos, at a rally on Thursday in front of parliament. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)
Students show bricks as a symbol of what they think of the push by some National Reform Council members to legalise casinos, at a rally on Thursday in front of parliament. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)

The Royal Thai Police Office will launch a website in September to support a campaign by retiring national police chief Somyot Poompunmuang for the legalising of casinos in Thailand.

Police spokesman Pol Gen Prawut Thawornsiri has been given responsibility for the website project, to kick off on Sept 1, according to Pol Gen Somyot.

The website will detail the advantages and disadvantages of setting up casinos in the country, including  information on how the tax revenue pocketed from gamblers would benefit the country. The money should be used to develop the country, including helping the needy and improving education, he added.

Pol Gen Somyot said he was ready to explain his position on legalising casinos to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Building licensed casinos would not wipe out illegal gambling dens, but it would enabe Thailand to keep the molney Thais spend going abroad to gamble.

The police chief on Wednesday came out in support of the proposal by some National Reform Council (NRC) members, calling themselves the Rak Chart group, for legal casinos. But he denied his connection with the group.

"I have never talked to the NRC members who proposed this idea. It is my own opinion,'' he said.

"Thailand will have casinos in 10 or 20 years and I will be gone by that time. At least people should think of Somyot as someone who fought for this issue,'' said Pol Gen Somyot, who is due to retire at the end of September.

NRC chairman Thienchay Kiranandana said on Tuesday that casino legislation was not on the reform agenda, but the group led by Maj Anan Watcharothai vowed to continue the campaign.

About 30 students of the New Generation against Gambling Network opposed the idea in an open letter to the NRC chairman submitted through his representative.

Legalising casinos was not part of national reform and it could led to more crime in the country, said Nattapong Sampaokaew, a leader of the network.

"What the group from the NRC is trying to do will damage the country,'' he said, and urged other NRC members to come out against the move.


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