PETALING JAYA: Even if you win, betting might leave you in tears in the end, warns MCA Public Service and Complaints Department chairman Datuk Seri Michael Chong.
This is because bookies know that since betting is illegal in the country, punters are helpless if their bet is not honoured.
“After the 2010 World Cup, we got a lot of complaints from people who had won football bets but the bookies refused to pay out their winnings. There were a few who couldn’t even find the bookies who ran off with all the money,” said Chong.
He added his department is preparing for a similar scenario after the end of this World Cup. “We are preparing for the worst. Bookies know the punters cannot go to the police to report them, so some might avoid paying up. Some might even threaten or beat up the bettors,” he added.
Chong said those who got cheated out of their winnings by bookies were usually more depressed than those who had lost their bets, due to shame or frustration.
“The fall from the high can push some to suicide, especially if they had gotten into debt because of their betting.”
It was reported that the police conducted 217 raids nationwide during the 2010 South Africa World Cup and arrested 143 people. The syndicates they busted had received bets amounting to RM438 million. This year, police have arrested more than 200 people. The syndicates reportedly drew wagers from RM7.38 mil daily.
Chong believes an effective way to nip illegal sports betting is to legalise it.
“If sports betting is legalised, it will be under control. It is happening anyway and the Internet makes it difficult to curb, so we should consider legalising it.
“The tax money we collect from sports betting can be put into good use, including helping the homeless and the poor.”
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