Malaysian Government Plans Illegal Gambling Crackdown

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 | Written by April Bergman
Malaysian Government Plans Illegal Gambling Crackdown

Malaysian’s Deputy Inspector General of Police, Tan Sri Noor Rashid Ibrahim, announced plans for a crackdown on Illegal gambling. During a strategy meeting in Bukit Aman with state deputy police chiefs and criminal investigations chiefs, the deputy inspector general said he plans largest crackdown in illegal gambling’s history nationwide.

Illegal gambling dens and unlicensed online gambling sites will be targeted. To conduct successful investigations, Noor Rashid Ibrahim wants to build a task force of government and enforcement agencies.

After the meet, Rashid Ibrahim said, “We have formed an illegal gambling action committee to plan, analyze, synergize and execute the actions to be taken to completely wipe out illegal gambling once and for all.”

Nationwide Illegal Gambling Raids

The first step is to raid illegal gambling dens and gaming shops throughout Malaysia’s major cities, including Kuala Lampur, Seberang Perai, Kajang, and Klang. In time, the crackdown will include cities in both Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia.

The second phase of the anti-corruption crackdown will involve illegal online gambling. Rashid Ibrahim said the number of online gamblers has grown tremendously over the years and is now the preferred choice for those who want to skirt the ban on betting. As a general rule, it harder for authorities to detect online gambling, so it is easier for operators and bettors alike to stay under the radar.

Noor Rashid Ibrahim warned that he plans to prosecute gaming operators, as well as those who provide services to the online gambling sites. That presumably would be the payment processors and software design companies which support online gaming sites. The deputy inspector general did not say if online gamblers themselves would be fined or prosecuted.

Common Gaming House Act 1953 Amendment

The nation’s second-highest police office said, “The sternest of action will be taken to ensure that such operations do not resurface after we have closed them down. This will include studies on existing laws and analysis of cases to formulate measures, including recommendations to the government on amendments to laws.”

Malaysian lawmakers are discussing adjustments to its Common Gaming House Act 1953, which would close certain loopholes that operators and bettors exploit in order to gamble online. Rashid Ibrahim said that enforcement is only half of the equation. Without the proper legal framework to give judges the ability to hand down long sentences and large fines, the investigative and enforcement efforts will be wasted.

He added, “If the laws are what prevent us from eradicating illegal gambling and allowing such operations to resurface again and persist with their activities, then the committee will come up with recommendations for amendments that will ensure we can close them down for good.”

Noor Rashid Ibrahim on Gaming Enforcement

Noor Rashid Ibrahim talked about the police’s need to coordinate with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, along with internet service providers (ISPs), which would be key in the crackdown on online gaming. In other nations, judges have had to force ISPs to aid in illegal gambling enforcement.

In France, a judge had to threaten to find ISPs nearly a million dollars a day before they began to help ARJEL. In Russia, authorities just placed a large tax on ISPs that helped online gaming operators, after they complained about the costs of enforcement.

Deputy Inspector General Ibrahim said, “It is a complicated task to close down online gambling, as they mostly operate through servers located overseas and push their software through multiple collapsible local servers. But this is serious and there has been continuous public outcry over this matter. Thus we will need to formulate a strategy for effective action to get rid of them.”

Though it was described as the secondary effort, he added that the crackdown on online gaming operators could begin within the next few days.

Special Training for Anti-Gaming Police

Noor Rashid mentioned that special training would be required for police investigators, both in spotting online and land-based gaming operations.

He added, “We realize that there have been weaknesses in effective action taken, also due to gathering of evidence to put up a strong case against the operators. This requires special training to equip our officers who carry out raids with the knowledge and capabilities to gather specific and effective evidence.”

Playtech Shares Decline on Malaysian News

When the news of the Malaysian online gambling crackdown broke, shares of Playtech, the gaming software giant, declined significantly. Because it had invested in the unregulated Malaysian gaming market, Teddy Sagi’s gaming group could face troubles from the online gambling crackdown.

Previously, Malaysian officials have attempted to prevent residents from accessing online gambling sites using mobile gaming apps, but those attempts have failed to eliminate online lotto betting, casino gambling, and sports betting.