Police set up “war room” to deal with World Cup online gambling

The Metropolitan Police is gearing up to fight illegal gambling ahead of the World Cup soccer tournament in Russia this week with action plan to seize bank accounts of the bookmakers in five minutes.

Deputy commissioner Pol Maj-Gen Panurat Lakboon said Monday that the bureau had set up a “war room” to monitor activities of illegal betting on online and mobile platforms, which will become officially operational on Wednesday – one day ahead of the official opening of the World Cup Russia tournament.

He said the war room would focus on attacking the financial sources of the illegal gambling operators with representatives of banks to be invited for discussion on measures to deal with the bookmakers, including seizure of their bank accounts within five minutes.

In the meantime, the MTB will cooperate with the Office of Basic Education Commission to launch a campaign to educate secondary education students and their parents of the threats of illegal gambling.

He warned that if any student was caught soccer gambling online, the parents of the student would also face legal action as well for negligence and failing to look after their children.

Pol Maj-Gen Panurat noted that soccer betting had changed with the advent of new technology such as smart phones with gambling being increasingly done on mobile and online platforms to avoid detection by authorities.

There are hundreds of online gambling websites available with many of them based outside Thailand but with network in the country.  Or the operators set up their own gambling websites with servers being based in Singapore and their administrators located near the border to avoid arrests.  Or both the servers and administrators are based in Thailand.

The deputy commissioner disclosed that undercover police had been sent to infiltrate illegal gambling operations by posing  as their members.  He said the sting operations managed to crack down on one gambling unit and seized 914 bank accounts.