Government Commission to be set up to control and license gambling in Malaysia

The best way to combat illegal gambling is to regulate and license it, says minister

In Malaysia, which is struggling to contain the high demand for gambling services by its citizens in spite of extensive police action, the Information, Communication and Culture Minister has opined that the best way to counter illegal gambling is to set up a structure to license and control it.

The Business Times reports that Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim has proposed the formation of a government commission to monitor and control licensed gambling in the country.

He said the commission could help the government regulate and reduce illegal gambling activities where bets reported to be worth RM10 billion a year are being made on illegal sites.

"If the gaming licence can be implemented correctly according to certain rules, we will be able to curb illegal gambling," the minister told a visiting delegation from the Indonesian Journalists Association in Kuala Lumpur Wednesday.

He said allowing sports betting was not something new compared to horse racing and lotteries.

"It should be regulated... it should not be the subject of discrimination. We need to be objective and identify the social rights of non-Muslims [to gamble] in the country," he said.

In recent times the subject of licensed gambling has come into sharp focus following discussions on the possibility (see previous InfoPowa report), with anti-gambling groups and mainly Muslim religious bodies opposing the idea.

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