|The World Cup has proved fantastic business for bookmakers, even illegal ones. In Malaysia, soccer is hugely popular, as is gambling. Unfortunately, betting is illegal in Malaysia, as 10 bookmakers found to their cost, when Malaysian Police arrested 10 people for soccer betting last Friday at an Internet café near Kuala Lumpur. |
The café’s owner was one of those arrested in the raid, which netted a television, fax machine and schedules of World Cup matches, as well as notebooks containing betting details.
Police Deputy Chief Rusni Hashim said police believed illegal bets at the cafe amounted to about 300,000 ringgit ($78,950). The operators had taken bets amounting to up to 25,000 ringgit ($6,600) a day since the World Cup began on May 31.
Bettors are liable for a maximum fine of over $52000 or a five year prison sentence if convicted.
Although betting is outlawed in Malaysia, illegal bookmakers have prospered by taking bets on local soccer games and the English Premier League. The extent of betting on English soccer games in Malaysia is such that in 1999, two Premiership games suffered blackouts as floodlights failed, due to sabotage by Malaysian betting syndicates in an attempt to influence the result.