Illegal gambling operation raided in Northern Laos

Local authorities seized more than 100 slot machines in a raid conducted this month as police officers cracked down illegal gambling dens.

Laos.- On March 4 and responding to local people complaints that some of the businesses were also illegal gambling dens, police forces and other government officials inspected restaurants and hotels located in the Long and Sing districts as well as the city of Luang Namtha.

“The raid was conducted to keep security and order in the province according to a provincial committee resolution issued in January,” stated police Major Somphone Souvannakasy . “Now, we shut down the restaurants and hotels with slot-machines, and we will re-check the permits.”

Laos is not alone in this scourge as several Southeast Asian countries have seen a surge in both legal and illicit casinos. Laos’ casino boom is a result of Chinese investors building a number of gambling palaces in the country. Even though the gambling concessions bring in cash for the government, most casino employees and customers are Chinese with infuriates local people. This also seemed to be the case for the illegal gambling operations in Luang Namtha.

A local resident explained the situation: “Some Chinese operators open restaurants and hotels, and then with the cooperation and permission of some of the local officials they install slot machines for gambling later on. The gambling ran from 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., and the majority of players are Chinese with some Lao young people, some of whom are younger than 18 years old.”