Up to 22 special draws a year will be allowed in 2021, more than double the number held last year.
Malaysia.- Malaysia’s government has increased the number of special lottery draws private gambling firms will be able to carry out this year.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government, which is dominated by Malay-Muslim parties, reinstated the number of special draws to 22 in a calendar year, twice the amount the previous Pakatan Harapan administration allowed.
This decision was made in spite of opposition from the opposing Democratic Action Party, which was looking to reduce the number of draws even further under the argument of reducing gambling harm.
In Malaysia, gambling firms are allowed three regular weekly draws while special draws with larger prices were introduced in 1999 and carry larger tax rates.
The special draws were traditionally limited to 22 a year, until the Pakatan Harapan administration reduced that number to 11 in 2019 and only eight in 2020.
Islam considers gambling to be forbidden and its proceeds are often called “sin tax”, as are taxes generated from the sale of alcohol and tobacco.
In 2012 the Malaysian government collected RM1.26bn (US$314.17m) from the gambling industry but this increased to RM4.5 billion ($1.12bn) in 2019, The Straits Times reported.