Thai police on Wednesday arrested 49 people, including 26 Chinese nationals, after uncovering a lavish illegal casino operating across two floors of a hotel in Nonthaburi province, northwest of Bangkok.
According to a report by The Bangkok Post, the casino was operating on the eighth and ninth floors of the IWISH hotel, which had been leased with access only possible via keycard. The property was raided by immigration police with the assistance of local police, where six baccarat tables, six slot machines, casino chips and around THB 3.5 million (US$100,500) in cash were seized.
Those arrested include 26 Chinese gamblers and 23 Thai workers.
The report also claims that the local police chief said the hotel was inspected a month ago and no casino found.
National police chief Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol has reportedly ordered his deputy to “investigate the case thoroughly” in order to find the real owner of the casino, as well as to take action against any police found to have aided in the operation of the casino.
The latest discovery of an illegal casino comes as Thailand continues moves to develop the nation’s first legal casinos.
As reported by IAG, Thailand’s House of Representatives recently established a new 60-member committee to study the feasibility of establishing a legal casino industry. A previous house committee’s report was approved by the House of Representatives in January, which recommended the development of legalized casinos within broader entertainment complexes in up to five locations nationwide, with Bangkok and Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) – which includes the likes of Pattaya and Rayong – named as the most suitable locations.
It also called for casino areas to comprise no more than 5% of the total IR floor space, with the remainder to incorporate attractions such as five-star hotels, shopping malls, beauty and spa parlours, amusement parks, zoos, and indoor and outdoor sports stadiums.