Malaysia’s government is looking to amend the country’s existing gambling laws in order to bring them in line with the contemporary gambling environment in the country, according to local media outlets.
News about lawmakers looking to craft new rules and regulations that would govern the nation’s gambling industry emerge shortly after Malaysia’s police announced that more than 14,700 individuals have been detained and more than MYR3.8 million was seized in raids against illegal gambling since the beginning of the year.
The country’s Home Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, said during a question-and-answer session that took place today in the Dewan Rakyat (the lower house of the Malaysian Parliament) that his fellow lawmakers have decided to update the laws because at present they do not cover online gambling. However, digital gaming and betting have become extremely popular in the country and the region as a whole over the past decade.
Minister Muhyiddin added that other countries in Southeast Asia such as Singapore have a separate act for offshore gambling.
The Home Minister’s comments came in response to a question whether the government had any plans to amend the nation’s obsolete existing laws that were introduced back in the 1950s and 1960s.
Illegal Gambling Businesses on the Rise
Minister Muhyiddin also dwelt on the growing number of illegal gambling syndicates in the country, saying that some of these are believed to be earning up to MYR300,000 a day by targeting Malaysian customers. Such operations are being run without the necessary licenses and permission by the competent authorities.
Reports that the Malaysian government was looking to reorganize the local gambling market first emerged in May. Back then, lawmakers as well as representatives from Malaysia’s Finance Ministry, the nation’s Communication and Multimedia Commission, Bank Negara Malaysia, and the local police met with licensed gambling operators to discuss approaches towards the introduction of a new legal framework and measures that can be deployed for combating illegal gambling.
A gaming operator who attended the meeting told local media outlets that legislators were “seriously looking into changing gaming laws” in order to boost the ongoing crackdown on unauthorized gaming and betting operations taking place on the territory of the country.
Gambling in Malaysia is regulated under the Lotteries Act 1952, the Common Gaming Houses Act 1953, the Betting Act 1953, and the Pool Betting Act 1967. All these pieces of legislation were implemented way before the introduction of online gambling and lack the necessary controls for curbing irregularities in that lucrative segment.
Today’s Q&A session also saw Alice Lau, a member of Malaysia’s Parliament representing the Lanang constituency, urge the government to tackle the growing issue of police officers being involved in illegal gambling operations. She also asked what measures could be taken in order for this issue to be addressed.
The country’s Home Minister said that he would not hesitate to act against any police officer who is found to be involved in the provision of illegal gambling services on the territory of the country.