Illegal online gambling equipment worth $80,000 seized in Malaysia

  • Officials seize computer chips and terminals in raids
  • Investigation includes many family entertainment centers

Authorities in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, have seized gaming equipment worth RM 345,500 (around $80,000) from two venues as part of a nationwide clampdown on illegal gambling activities.

Online gambling equipment was seized by authorities in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Online gambling equipment was seized by authorities in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The raids took place on July 28, reports the Malay Mail, and a total of 239 items have been seized which are thought to relate to online gambling.

Gambling is strictly prohibited in the Malaysian capital, though it is prevalent at many venues throughout the city. A survey last year revealed that 615 premises across the city were known to be engaging in gambling.

Attempts to curb illegal gambling dens

The raids in Kuala Lumpur are part of a series of ongoing operations which started back in January of this year. A collaborative effort between police and City Hall, the Islamic Religious Department and the Inland Revenue commission, the task force aims to reduce illegal gambling and disrupt operations, while also tackling the crime associated with these gambling dens such as prostitution, drug abuse and even human trafficking.

Kuala Lumpur is bound by strict Islamic law for locals, which prohibits ‘syariah offences’ and restricts alcohol.

Since the start of the year, around 330 raids are known to have taken place.

Over 1,000 arrests have been made and the state has seized close to 2000 gambling machines and associated items in raids.

Collectively, those machines are worth millions – showing the extent of the illicit gambling industry within Kuala Lumpur. If these venues are closed and players have nowhere to go, the debate around legalizing gambling in the tourist-friendly city could reignite.

Online gambling in demand in Malaysia

While online gambling services are not permitted, they are certainly popular. Many venues marked as ‘family entertainment centers’ are using online gambling terminals quite openly, and they are popular in bars and nightclubs too.

Some of the clubs which have these gaming terminals are also offering ‘adult services’ to clients – another thing authorities are keen to stamp out, along with the prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse. Gambling venues often get around the rules by including token-fed gaming machines which look similar to arcade games, but which offer a payout for players who are successful.

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