Legalizing sports betting won’t solve match-fixing: Minister

The Malaysian government will not be legalizing sports betting despite claims that the country has become the ‘new center for match-fixing in Asia’.

At a recent forum in Singapore, FIFA's former security chief Chris Eaton noted that Malaysia had overtaken Singapore as the new center for match-fixing in Asia following a crackdown in the city-state.

Eaton said that Singapore had managed to break up some football match-fixing syndicates, the most notable of which led to the arrest of Dan Tan in 2013, but that some remained working in "close association" with syndicates in Malaysia.

However, Finance Minister II Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani said the regulation of sports betting would not eliminate the menace.

“As far as the government is concerned, we are not going to approve sports betting. Simply put, it’s not a sector we’re looking into,” he said.

“What assurance do we have that match-fixing will be eradicated if sports betting is legalized? Singapore legalized sports betting, yet they also had syndicates operating illegally.

“We can’t be giving out licenses just because there is a demand in the black market. That will not solve the problem,” he said.

Johari said there were no statistics to show “illegal outflow” and that the government won’t be making changes “without in depth studies and information”.

“We have legalised 4D but I’ve been told the black market is double in size. Once again, no one can give us the numbers,” he said.

“And despite legalising 4D we still have the black market. Wouldn’t it be the same if we legalised sports betting?” he asked.

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