Posted on: July 18, 2022, 11:30h. 

Last updated on: July 18, 2022, 11:41h.

There may be a future for land-based and online casinos in Thailand. However, political trouble could prove to be a roadblock. Mounting pressure for the possible ouster of Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is a potential dealbreaker.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in a public appearance. The government leader faces a no-confidence vote that could disrupt attempts to legalize casinos. (Image: CGTN)

As Thailand’s lifting of COVID-19 restrictions permits them to protest the government in groups, anti-government protesters are gaining support. They are now running a mock no-confidence poll, as a real debate on no-confidence is set to begin in the Thai Parliament on Tuesday.

Yesterday, Ratsadon, one of the groups, began collecting votes for its informal motion of no confidence against Prayut. Leading the official call in parliament are the Move Forward and Pheu Thai opposition parties.

Political Unrest Abounds

Political unrest is a common occurrence, especially as political groups always assume they’re correct. However, the simultaneous actions in several countries could ultimately, among other things, rewrite the path the global gaming industry takes.

Boris Johnson is out the door in the UK; the future of Mario Draghi in Italy is on the fence. Now, in Thailand, Ratsadon announced that it will collect signatures at 140 locations in 34 Thai provinces “to give people the chance to vote for the Thai PM.”

The Ratsadon group comprises students from secondary and higher education, academics, and the general Thai public. It was established in 2020 just as the Thai government lifted its initial series of lockdowns that occurred in August of that year.

The group spoke out about its latest protest and collected signatures for an informal no-confidence vote. It said that they would count and submit votes from all over the country on Friday. Then, it will submit them to the government before Saturday’s actual no-confidence referendum.

Support for legal gambling in Thailand is considerably high – polls show that around 80% of the public believes it’s a smart move. However, there are obviously more pressing matters the government has to resolve first.

Finding a New Path

The group has fought against Prayut and his government since then. It has also shown support for reforms to the Thai constitution, including the position of the Head of State.

The public attack on Thailand’s highest institution, the Thai Monarchy, and the reference to it at the time was unprecedented. To limit their activities, the government arrested the leaders of the groups’ factions.

It justified the suppression by arguing that COVID-19 and the country’s Lese Majeste rules prevented mass gatherings. Lese Majeste rules are included in Thai law and prohibit any defamation or insult of the monarchy.

As a result of the government intervention, the group then enlisted other disenfranchised interest groups from around the country. These held a mass rally at Government House on October 14, 2020. Following a march that involved thousands of people from the Democracy Monument to Government House property, the group held a sit-in at the property.

The next day, riot police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters. It was effective at breaking up the crowd, but not at keeping it from regrouping.

This isn’t the first time the PM has faced a similar situation. Politicians held a no-confidence vote last year, but he emerged relatively unscathed.