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Malaysia to legalise sports betting?

Considering how huge sports betting is in Asia, this is hardly a surprise, but Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country, a religion which is vehemently anti-gambling. Underground betting in Malaysia is huge, I got to experience it a decade ago when I lived there briefly.

Malaysian soccer legends support legalised betting

Legends bet on legalised gambling ahead of World Cup

Kuala Lumpur. Four Malaysian football legends on Wednesday threw their support behind a proposal to legalize sports betting ahead of this year’s World Cup finals in South Africa.

The former players said legalizing sports wagers would reduce rampant illegal betting and match-fixing, but some also warned it could encourage people to go into debt.

Last month the New Straits Times newspaper said sports betting might be legalized in time for the World Cup, which will be held from June 11-July 11.

It said the Berjaya Group, a major Malaysian conglomerate with holdings ranging from lottery to casino operations, was seeking government approval to operate sports betting activities.



Every four years the World Cup causes a massive dilemma for many governments in Asia - everyone wants to bet, but there are no legal channels to do so. So do we send the police (who probably like a bet themselves) out in force to shut down the bookies, or legalise it and earn tax revenue out of it? Hong Kong and Singapore are good examples of how to do it right, and keep most of the population away from the illegal bookies (who'll never go away, you just have to dissuade the honest citizen from betting with them and switch to legal channels).

Malaysia's situation is made all that much harder with a multi-racial and denominational population, but they do have Genting casino already, so it's not that much of a radical step forward. They have left it mightly late though to get a system up and running in time if they do approve it....

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