Why is Gambling Illegal in South-East Asia?
Gambling within South-East Asia is a complicated topic. On the one hand, gambling is part of many country's culture. For example, cockfighting has long taken place within Cambodia and Vietnam and in many situations bets are wagered. Despite this, gambling is actually illegal throughout much of South-East Asia; it is totally illegal within Thailand and only foreigners are allowed to gamble within the casinos of Cambodia and South Korea. There is not one single, unified stance that runs through all of South-East Asia, but there are a few similarities. Many of the countries have are socially structured around communism, or are strongly influenced by the ideology. This goes some of the way to explain why in some countries forbid their citizens to gamble, but actively advocate foreign money passing through the few established casinos they have in place. Gambling is seen as a way to bring money into an area, however, should the local population be allowed to gamble, many governments worry about the social implications this move create, even though many locals find ways to gamble online using websites such as M88 Indonesia, which means that even though it is illegal, people will always fidn a way to find their habit. Which is difficult for governments to maintain a state of rule.
Through communist logic, the population of the country should have no need to gamble, due to the equal distribution of social amneties, yet it makes sense to remove these restrictions for visiting foreigners, as it is seen as a way to introduce more money into the communist state, without it harming the wealth of its own citizens.
This then explains the reasons for the two different attitudes seen throughout South-East Asia, but if current trends are anything to go by, many nations are impressed by the profits posted by Macau and are weighing up the possibility of greatly reducing gambling restrictions. This would be an interesting move because underground, illegal gambling currently plagues much of the region. Illegal sports betting a lotteries are rife throughout Thailand, so much so that underground lottery games attract more money than their state-sponsored equivalent. This is an example of how the criminalisation of gambling can actually further harm a population. It is clear that people will continue to gamble, whether it is legal or not. Within Thailand, the option to gamble through legitimate institutions is removed, forcing the market to operate underground.
With that being said, some countries have embraced gambling. Cambodia has seen many casinos established within the past 20 years, and despite it being illegal for Cambodian citizens to gamble, there is evidence to suggest that this is a loosely enforced rule.
The main influence of South-East Asia's position on gambling is China. China is the largest power within the Asian bloc, but also defines itself as communist. Therefore, many of the smaller communist states within the South-East will took see how China has handled gambling policy. Obviously, with the positioning of Macau as the world's gambling capital, this is having a trickle down effect on the other smaller Asian nations.
This is an interesting time for gambling within South-East Asia. At present, it seems to be that laws are being relaxed, if not completely altered to allow gambling within some form. There seems to be an air of cautious optimism around the South-Eastern Asian nations, as they actively invite foreign investment into their countries to develop gambling complexes.