Unhealthy activity: SAC Roslee showing a picture of a gambling den during a press conference in Bukit Aman.
KUALA LUMPUR: Illegal betting for this year’s World Cup is set to hit a record high – thanks to smart technology which will allow punters to place bets from anywhere and at anytime.
Federal Secret Societies, Gambling and Vice Division (D7) principal assistant director Senior Asst Comm Roslee Chik said the total bets for the last World Cup in South Africa four years ago amounted to more than RM438mil nationwide.
“We expect this year’s tournament to surpass that amount as syndicates and gamblers are using smartphones rather than laptops.
“In the 2010 World Cup, we only had to deal with syndicates and gamblers using laptops but now smartphones have become the tool of the bookies,” he said.
Some of the gambling apps that are easily available are M88 Sports, IBCBET and SBOBET.
“We have started preparations in the last three weeks and we are ready to come down hard on anyone involved in illegal football betting,” SAC Roslee told a press conference in Bukit Aman yesterday.
Betting on football matches is illegal in Malaysia and even those who place bets on betting websites that are legal in other countries will face action.
Johor police have also set up a taskforce in every district to check on gambling activities and will focus on premises such as cybercafés and restaurants that offer live matches.
Johor police chief Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff had these words of advice for those likely to get into bigger trouble by borrowing from loan sharks: “Just enjoy the games. There is no need to bet.”
Sabah police have set up eight teams for the Ops Soga 5 to combat football betting activities.
State CID chief Senior Asst Comm Omar Mammah said the police did not want to reveal details of their operations so they could catch the bookies and the gamblers by surprise.
According to SAC Roslee, although police arrested 143 people in 2010, including bookies and those who placed bets, most of them could not be prosecuted due to lack of evidence.
The youngest among those arrested was 15 and the oldest was 73. There were also 22 women and nine Indonesians.
He added that a total of 270 premises were raided nationwide during the month-long tournament and RM110,124 seized.
“We have learned some lessons and have improved our strategies.
“We will use the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Act 2001 (Amlata) and enforcement will be more stringent,” he said.
SAC Roslee said bets for the World Cup would increase as the tournament progressed, with the stake getting higher for the quarter-final, semi-final and the final.
It is learnt that a minimum bet could from between RM200 and RM300 and they could go up to hundreds of thousands of ringgit.
SAC Roslee vowed the police would use the Prevention of Crime Act to catch syndicate members as a last resort.
“We will also work closely with the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission to identify illegal gaming facilities and websites,” he said.
SAC Roslee added they were also looking into amending existing gambling laws, to enable the authorities to have more bite against illegal gambling syndicates as syndicates are using the Internet with servers based overseas.
“It is hard to get cooperation from the authorities in countries where gambling is legal,” he said.