Online gambling among minors worrying

Govt plans to review whether it is necessary to make amendments to the gambling act involving online gambling

pic by BERNAMA

THE government will look into ways to handle the issue of online gambling that has become prevalent to the point that even minors are fixated on it.

Deputy Home Affairs Minister I Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Mohamed Said (picture) said the government is concerned about this issue and is planning to review whether it is necessary to make amendments to the gambling act involving online gambling.

Responding to Tenom MP Noorita Sual who queried on the matter in Dewan Rakyat yesterday, Ismail said his ministry will examine the existing laws related to gambling for improvement amendments to ensure that these laws are relevant to changes in the modus operandi of the gambling syndicate, especially online gambling.

In this regard, the Home Affairs Ministry has also been involved in the legal studies related to gambling that is being conducted by the Finance Ministry so that it is always in line with current developments.

Noorita then asked whether the government will be introducing amendments by making any forms of invitation or persuasion of online gambling, especially through mobile phone services to teenagers under the age of 18, an offense.

“What I have seen lately is that my underaged children’s mobile phones are being bombarded with such invitations,” she said.

Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim chimed in, pointing that online gambling has become pervasive among minors in rural areas and appealed to expedite the reviewing process of the law to bring in a new bill before the end of the term.

Ismail said the government will be monitoring the authorities and will take firm action to address this issue so that national losses in terms of taxes can be avoided.

He added that several measures have been taken by the police to detect and combat these activities, either by individuals or syndicate groups including conducting continuous operations and raids through Op Dadu.

There have been integrated operations in collaboration with other agencies such as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and local authorities to disable these activities.

The ministry has also collaborated with the Malaysian Multimedia Communications Commission for the restriction of gambling websites, and taken action against the parties involved in online gambling including the custodians of the premises and the organisers, adding that harsher action will also be taken under the provisions of other relevant laws.