Thailand Bans Dart Boards Nationwide

You know that game - the one the Brit's love which involves a round cork board mounted on the wall with some pointy projectiles, Darts - the indoor game loved by millions. Its popular around the world & until recently proved to provide a great form of entertainment for the many who like to spend some quality time in one of the thousands of bars throughout Thailand.

However more recently, the peaceful enjoyment of a quiet game of darts has been impacted in the most bizarre way. Apparently a law has been in place for over 83 years which prohibits the use of dart boards in venues without a specific 'dart board' licence. While playing a game of darts in your own home is not considered illegal, when it comes to a commercial venue such as a pub, bar or club it's a big no-no.


The until recently this little known law lists many types of sports & games as gambling including such pass times as darts, bingo, lottery, mahjong & even billiards or pool. Those who wish to play or organize matches require permission from the state under the legislation, which was enacted prior to World War II (in 1935).

Things blew up recently following a number of raids across various venues arourd the tourist city of Pattaya including the popular Soi 6. At that time, many managers & bar owners were advised they now required a special 'dart board' licence in order for their customers to play a game. The law is now being policed nationwide.

dart-bar-2 Image Source/Credit:

The Thailand Darts Association (TDA) have advised their members that any pubs or sports bars offering a game of darts as entertainment in their venues must register their equipment or risk having it confiscated by local authorities. The advice came following a number of complaints from owners in Pattaya who stated they were being targeted by Government Municipal officials demanding presentation of dart permits.

When asked why the focus by officials has occurred recently,Thailand Dart Association chairman Vichai Govindani responded by stating: 'In the past there was crackdown then it disappeared for some time,' Vichai, who has been playing darts for more than 30 years', said in an interview. 'Now it’s back'. 'But it’s good'. 'At least it might make people interested in the sport'.

Mr. Vichai has advised his association can issue the necessary permits free of charge for any establishment that requests one from his association.

In response, Chonburi Governer Pakarathon Tienchai said 'he has no information about specific raids, but maintained that officials are required by law to crack down on any act of potential gambling'. 'If they play for fun, it’s not a problem'. 'But if it could be gambling, we have to take action,' Pakarathon said. 'Officials have to see if there’s any gambling involved.'

What's next? Pool tables perhaps, or the humble game of Connect 4 - who knows? This is Thailand after all.

Sandra Hawkins

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