Kuala Lumpur: Illegal Bets Out of Control

A rise in illegal gambling has prompted the Kuala Lumpur government to use the Prevention of Crime Act to crack down on gambling dens and their operators. But law enforcers are calling for more authority to stem the tide.

More than 100,000 raids

An increase in illegal gaming has the government of Kuala Lumpur demanding broader powers to enforce the law, according to a report in the Sun Daily newspaper.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the problem is caused in part because jurisdictional powers are scattered among multiple bodies, including police, the Finance Ministry, the Communications and Multimedia Commission, and local councils.

“If the police raid an illegal gambling den but do not have the power under the law, they cannot arrest and bring those accused to court,” he said. “For the long-term solution, changes need to be made to the law to allow the police to have more jurisdiction in combating illegal gambling activities,” bot land-based and online.

Through October, he said, 29 online gambling operators have been investigated under the Prevention of Crime Act. In addition, police have conducted 109,000 raids on gambling dens and arrested more than 15,000 organizers and participants. Approximately 70,100 gambling machines were seized, with an estimated value of RM70.1 million (US$16.4 million), he added.

He accused syndicates of running illegal gambling at purported family entertainment centers.

“We are in the process of training more experts about gambling to help them better identify and categorize activities with gambling elements,” he said.