Malaysia Struggling To Curb Illegal Online Gaming Operations
Malaysia has witnessed an increase in the number of illegal gambling complaints during the last few years. The increase in illegal gambling activities covers all niches which include land based gaming, online gaming and mobile gaming. During the first 6 months of this year, Malaysian authorities had received 973 complaints on illegal gambling.
Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman who is the Deputy Home Minister has gone on record to state that the authorities are finding it very difficult to curb the growth of the illegal gambling industry as these unlicensed operators are finding new ways to evade the authorities.
Offshore operators have targeted Malaysia by offering them a variety of online casino games and sports betting options. Since Malaysia does not have a regulated online gaming industry, the market is very lucrative for these unlicensed operators.
There are also criminal syndicates operating in Malaysia who run illegal mobile based gaming operations. They use popular messaging applications such as WeChat and WhatsApp to take bets and have a wide network throughout the country.
Gobind Singh Deo, the Communications and Multimedia Minister said it was very difficult to stop mobile gaming from spreading as the syndicate had more than 700,000 mobile accounts and it was a massive challenge to track and block them.
In a statement, Azis Jamman said
Online gambling servers are located abroad and these are identified by their Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. When the police or the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) block an IP number, gambling operators can change it in a split second
Gambling Under Fake Licenses
There has also been an increase in the number of illegal gambling outlets in the country. Many of these operators apply for a family entertainment license and get approval from their local council. However, once their venue is set up, they set up gambling operations and attract a crowd.
The authorities have raided a number of these illegal gambling shops in recent times and shut them down. However, within a few weeks they operators once again apply for another license under a new name and have their illegal gambling den up and running once again.
Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman said that this has proven to be a major hurdle for the government as these licenses are being issued by state and local governments. Thus it is difficult for the central government and the police to have complete control over the situation. The Minister has stated the government is looking at coming up with new measures to address illegal gambling in the country.