Malaysia

Eighteen people, including six foreigners, were arrested for their alleged involvement in illegal online gambling, according to The Star online.

Australian regulators are close to giving approval to Malaysia’s Genting to up its stake in Echo Entertainment from 6 percent to 25 percent, local media reports.

Genting Malaysia said it’s seeking a mandate from shareholders to sell its entire 17.8 percent stake in the group’s Hong Kong-listed unit Genting Hong Kong for a price of not less than $0.33 a share in cash, the company said in a Bursa Malaysia filing.

The federal administrative center of Malaysia said that gambling mogul Paul Phua, who is currently being tried in a US court, does not have a criminal record despite reports claiming he had been convicted for illegal betting in 2004.
"According to police records, Paul Phua Wei Seng does not have a previous criminal record," The Malaysian Insider quoted Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying in a written parliamentary reply.

Singapore’s mass-market gaming revenues are expected to be stifled as the Malaysian ringgit falls to a 17-year low against the Singapore dollar, analysts say.

Malaysia’s gaming industry is expected to report weaker earnings this year as the country’s first ever Goods and Services Tax comes into effect from April 1st, crimping revenue at a time of weakening consumer sentiment.

The tax has been under consideration by the government for close to a decade and was finally confirmed last October by Prime Minister cum Finance Minister Najib Abdul Razak. The rate was set at six percent.

Malaysia’s gaming industry is expected to report weaker earnings this year as the country’s first ever Goods and Services Tax comes into effect from April 1st, crimping revenue at a time of weakening consumer sentiment.

The tax has been under consideration by the government for close to a decade and was finally confirmed last October by Prime Minister cum Finance Minister Najib Abdul Razak. The rate was set at six percent.

Berjaya Sports Toto and Magnum -- two numbers forecast operators (NFOs) listed on the Malaysian stock exchange -- are facing the prospect of lower revenue as well as lower margins this year, analysts said.

"The GST will have the dual effect of both forcing gamblers to reduce their bet sizes as well as serving as an additional tax to the operators, cutting earnings by an estimated 10 percent altogether," said Maybank Investment Bank in a report.

Magnum earlier this month gave its own warning that the tax was likely to have a moderating effect on sales. “With the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax on April 1, 2015 and the higher costs of living from the government's ongoing subsidies rationalisation programme, consumer spending is expected to continue to be weak,” it said. “The GST expense based on net gaming supplies – that will be absorbed by the company – will have an impact on our profitability for the coming financial year,” it said.

NFOs pay an 8-percent gaming tax on total ticket sales and an 8-percent pool betting duty on net revenue.



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Malaysian authorities disposed of gambling machines and other items worth RM5.4 million ($1.5 million) that were seized in operations to crack down on illegal activity.
Eight gambling machines estimated to be worth RM20,000, computer products and telecoms devices were seized in nine operations from July last year to March this year, news source Bernama reported.

Malaysian lottery operator Magnum reported a decrease in revenue for the fourth quarter last year and expects this year’s sales to be affected by weaker consumer spending.
For the last three months of 2014, the company reported revenue falling to MYR727.4 million ($195.8 million) from MYR741.2 million during the same period the year before, while profit rose from MYR52.7 million to MYR62 million.

Malaysian Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi denied having links to "the biggest gambling taukeh (boss) in the world," Paul Phua, and that he has never made money from gambling.
"I know what is halal (legal) and haram (illegal). I have never made a single sen from gambling or illegal means," Zahid said during a speech at a university on crime in Malaysia, The Malaysian Insider reported.

The role gambling kingpin and alleged triad member Paul Phua has played in advising the Malaysian government on matters of national security cannot be revealed as it is “Top Secret,” a senior official said.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim told MP Lim Lip Eng that following the disclosure made by the Home Minister that Phua has assisted the government on certain matters, information related to his role cannot be divulged.

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