- Amendments to gambling act would target illegal operators
- Online gambling could be halted during reform
Malaysia’s politicians are tabling a motion to amend the country’s gambling laws in the hope of limiting the spread of illegal gambling services, Casino Games Pro reports.
Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is seeking changes to the Common Gaming Houses Act of 1953, to better reflect modern casino trends The Government and police services have been working together to reduce gambling-related crime in the nation.
Malaysia split on gambling regulation
Gambling in Malaysia is not automatically restricted, and the Asian nation is home to the world-renowned Resorts World Genting in Kuala Lumpur. However, the majority of the population is prohibited from gambling under Muslim law. Only patrons who are foreign tourists, from ethnic minorities or are Chinese citizens can play casino games.
Malaysian officials have been active in tackling illegal gambling this year, including the deportation of over 400 Chinese nationals for their part in an alleged gambling scam hosted from Macau.
Deputy PM Zahid says that Chief of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun has led more than 5000 operations to remove illegal gambling operators from the market since the official was appointed early last month.
Online gambling in firing line
The changes to the Gaming Houses Act are designed to bring legislation up to date, given that gambling trends have changed and methods of gambling have become more complex. Online gambling is officially outlawed under the terms of the 1953 gaming law, but there is room for interpretation which online casinos have taken full advantage of.
“Special attention should be given to improve online gambling laws because online casino activities, which can be conducted via smartphones, are becoming rampant right now,” Mr Zahid told delegates at a recent conference at the Universiti Putra Malaysia.
The lawmaker wants to add legislation that would require telecommunication providers to block gambling services, and he indicated that a complete shutdown of online gambling could come soon.
The drafted amendment will be circulated to Malaysian politicians in the coming weeks, with a vote expected before the end of the year – unless any competing piece of legislation is raised prior to that date.
Mr Zahid has wide support within the Malaysian Parliament and it is likely his gambling reform bill will pass a democratic vote – leaving the future uncertain for malaysia’s online casino operators.
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