Malaysia Considers Legalisation of Sports Betting
The topic of sports betting in Malaysia looks to be back on the agenda according to local media reports.
Malaysian Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussein told local media on 6 May 2010 that the government was “seriously” studying the possibility of issuing sports betting licences to curb illegal betting, which is widespread in the country.
Malaysian conglomerate Berjaya Group Bhd would be the probable beneficiary of any such decision because is reported to have first refusal of any sports betting licence that would be granted. Berjaya currently runs 4D (four digit) and lotto game businesses under the Sports Toto (BToto).
If the Berjaya Group were to be granted a licence it would be third time lucky for Berjaya’ chairman Vincent Tan.
Sports Toto was first granted a licence in 1988 through a personal investment vehicle of Mr Tan’. He opened three outlets to take sports bets but was told to cease operations two years later. In June 2003 the licence was reissued but was revoked again in October 2004 after Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over as prime minister.
The illegal sports betting market in Malaysia is estimated to be worth US$ 200 – 250 m in gross gaming yield a year.