Thais to spend $2.1 billion during World Cup, mostly on gambling

    Thais are likely to spend almost 70 billion baht ($2.1 billion) during the upcoming World Cup, which kicks off in Brazil this week, with the majority likely to go towards illegal gambling activities, according to a survey from the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce.
    The estimate is a 16 percent increase from the amount spent during the previous World Cup in South Africa four years ago.
    The survey of 1,229 people nationwide found that about 43.53 billion baht will go to illegal activities, an increase of 17 percent from the previous tournament. The number of gambling soccer fans was also expected to increase, with the average bet per match seen at Bt5,072. Those gambling for money only will increase to 51.3 percent of the total gambling, up from 33 percent last time.
    The remainder of the money is likely to be spent on match-time snacks, souvenirs and set-top boxes, the survey found.
    Meanwhile, Thai The commissioner of Provincial Police Region 6 has transferred four high-ranking officers to inactive posts after soldiers cracked down on a gambling den in Phitsanulok province. It plans to take action against the leaders of the ring soon, local media reported.