The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) express concern with regard the dispute surrounding the Federal Government’s issuance of sports betting license.
The ACCCIM also noted with concern that various illegal gambling activities are becoming more rampant in Malaysia where the illegal gambling syndicates pervade to every corner of the society. In the absence of appropriate rules and regulations, the industry can evolve into an uncontrollable part of the economy, which is detrimental to Malaysian families and society as a whole. In view of this anomaly, the Federal Government has legalised horse betting, casinos and the lottery industry.
The legal gambling industry contributed enormously to the economy. According to the statistics, total tax revenue of Malaysia last year amounted to RM158.6 billion, and the gambling industry contributed RM3 billion or 2% of it. The revenue has been utilised for various public expenditure in the country. In Malaysia, 13,000 people are directly employed through the legal gambling industry, with a further over 6,700 indirect employees, resulting in a total of nearly 20,000 job opportunities.
Singapore, which opposed opening of casino for 45 years after independence, has now realised that the gambling industry, if properly regulated and controlled, could contribute greatly to the economy. Through its now legalised sports gambling, Singapore has received RM870 million in annual taxation avenue. Hong Kong, as Special Administrative Zone of China, has legalised sports betting through the Hong Kong Jockey Club, netting in $1.4b in annual revenue. China also permits Macao to continue developing its gambling industry. The regulated gambling industry in Macao is an important element contributing to its socio-economy stability.
The Federal Government, after 23 years of pondering, has resumed the issuance of sports betting license to curb the proliferation of illegal sports betting activities. Although ACCCIM has never supported nor encouraged people to gamble, it is of the view that if legal sports betting does not exist, existing gamblers will resort to bet through black markets, even without cash, resulting in exorbitant debts and fall prey to loansharks which will cause diverse social problems and ultimately upset national development. The government should strictly regulated the sports betting license, by legalising and regulating betting, the adverse impact of illegal gambling activities could be significantly reduced. Reckoning that the operating revenue of Malaysia’s illegal sports betting industry is between RM20 billion to RM 30 billion per year, the government could net in approximately RM1 billion to RM3 billion tax revenue.
The ACCCIM hope that no matter which company been granted the sports betting license, they can manage the license well and Government should ensure that the company contribute some portion of its profit to charity and education fund annually.
The ACCCIM call on all parties concerned to resolve the disputes on the issuance of sports betting license by giving preferential consideration to socio-economic interest of the nation.