2011 Volume 56 Issue 2 Pages 359-371
The present study investigated the transformation that has occurred in Muay Thai, a traditional martial art in Thailand, as a result of gambling. Muay Thai is a sport that incorporates religious ceremony. In Thailand, gambling has been conventionally illegal. The rules of Muay Thai have not been changed since Rajadamunan stadium was established in 1945, and Muay Thai has since developed into a national amusement and become a modern sport. However, various gambling styles linked to Muay Thai still continue to exist. Such gambling comprises three types: 1. Gambling on matches, where all the prize money is placed in bets. 2. Gambling through bookmakers. 3. Gambling based on odds, with no restriction on who gambles and how much money is staked. Since the late 1970s, however, gambling based on odds has increased, and this has resulted in a change of Muay Thai game tactics. Currently, most of the audiences coming to Muay Thai stadiums are gamblers who use odds to bet. For this study, data were collected through fieldwork conducted at Muay Thai stadiums in Thailand. Data were also gathered from Muay Thai magazines. These data have been reconstructed in order to examine how Muay Thai has changed in response to gambling, and the results indicate that the game tactics of Muay Thai have changed due to odds gambling. As a consequence, Muay Thai has become not only just a martial art, but also a sport for gambling.