Bangkok: Police in Thailand said on Tuesday they had arrested 5,064 people for illegal gambling during the World Cup, a sharp increase from four years ago.
As well as 4,679 gamblers, the authorities detained 258 bookmakers and 127 betting slip runners since the tournament kicked off in Brazil on June 12.
If convicted, those arrested could face up to two years in prison and a 2,000 baht (Dh228) fine.
But most are expected to receive suspended jail terms, except in cases where particularly large sums of money are involved, said Police Major General Chantavit Ramsut.
In addition, more than 2,000 football gambling websites have been shut down, police said.
Thailand’s new junta is cracking down on gambling in general in a bid to “uphold social order” in the kingdom, where most forms of betting are outlawed.
According to police figures, around 3,800 people were arrested across Thailand for gambling during the previous World Cup in 2010.