KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — The Communications and Multimedia Ministry has proposed for new laws be drafted to allow them to license, regulate, and tax online gambling websites, Parliament was told this morning.
Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin, when answering oral questions in Dewan Rakyat, said a proposal has been made to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) for relevant amendments to be made to the Common Gaming House Act 1953 to broaden its jurisdiction to cover online gambling.
He explained that licensing online gambling would not only allow them to regulate the industry which usually involves websites hosted overseas, but also rake in taxes from transactions made similar to how physical casinos here are taxed.
“If we do not license then individuals in Malaysia who are gambling with these foreign sources, we cannot tax them.
“That is why we are proposing to the MoF to draft a law or a new Bill so that we can license it. We have to give it a license so that we can monitor and we can generate income which then can sustain us regulating it,” he said.
Additionally, Zahidi revealed some of the challenges his ministry faced in trying to weed out what is still considered illegal online gambling websites, until new these laws are introduced.
He explained how most of these sites are hosted on servers in foreign countries, with the constant rehashing of the website’s domain and IP addresses making the authorities’ efforts in identifying the culprits more difficult.
“If it is not in a gambling house, police or authorities cannot arrest them because it is not covered under the Common Gaming House Act 1953 as it only covers physical gambling.
“And, for online gambling, we do not have a law, which means we in Parliament have to make a new law for it,” he said.
Zahidi’s statement comes on the heels of the Kedah state government’s decision to ban all forms of gambling within the state.
Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor had announced how all shops selling numbers forecast lottery draws in the PAS-led state will no longer have their business licences renewed by local councils, with the move intended “to tackle the ills resulting from gambling”.