Malaysia’s Minister of Finance announced that punishments for both gamblers and gambling operators will increase as part of the country’s 2020 budget.
Malaysia.- The budget, introduced on Friday, also sets out that the number of four-digit lottery draws per year run by the Number Forecast Operators (NFO) will be reduced from 11 to 8.
The maximum penalty for those who gamble illegally is to increase from €1,082 to €21,637. In addition, where previously there was no minimum sentence for gambling under the Common Gaming Houses Act of 1953, it will now carry a jail term of no less than six months.
For illegal gambling operators, the minimum penalty of €216,4 million replaces the former minimum penalty of €1,082. Operating illegal gambling had a maximum penalty of €10,82, but there is no maximum penalty mentioned in the new budget.
With the exception of the NFO four-digit games, Gambling is against the law for all Malaysian citizens, but the country does permit foreigners to gamble at the Genting Highlight Resort.
Most noteworthy, the increase in punishments comes soon after Malaysian police announced the arrests of 247 people in connection with illegal China-facing online gambling operations that authorities say took in €5,4 million per month.
The crackdown was the latest in a wave of moves against China-facing online gambling across South-East Asia; after similar crackdowns in Cambodia and the Philippines.
The budget does not detail any changes to the upper limit on prison sentences for online gamblers; set at six months for players, and at a maximum of three years for illegal operators.
The budget needs to passed Parliament to become law, but with budgets in the country treated as a matter of confidence, it is not expected to face difficulty in passing.