KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15 — A new law on online gambling needs to be formulated to enable the activity to be monitored and curbed more effectively, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.
Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin said the absence of such a law at the moment had made it difficult for monitoring to be carried out as the internet domains and protocol of websites used for the activity could be changed repeatedly.
He said the only available pertaining to gambling is the Common Gaming Houses Act 1953 which focuses on gambling in a common gaming house.
“(Under that Act), we can make an arrest only if gambling is committed in such premises. If committed outside a common gaming house, we cannot make the arrest because there is no law (that allows it), let alone for online gambling. So, we have to formulate a new Act,” he said during question time.
Zahidi was replying to Datuk Mohd Aziz Jamman (Warisan-Sepanggar) who wanted to know the coordination between the ministry and the police in monitoring online gambling.
The deputy minister said under the new law, the activity could also be licensed for the purpose of collecting tax which could be used to cover the costs for monitoring operations.
About the efforts to tackle the issues of spam messages promoting online gambling, he said the ministry, through the Communications and Multimedia Commission, had conducted a data verification audit of prepaid phone line customers to ensure that all active numbers were properly verified.
“This is important to prevent the numbers from being misused by irresponsible parties for criminal purposes, including fraud and online gambling.
“Between 2018 and Oct 31 this year, 20,025 phone lines have been terminated for sending spam messages which promote online gambling, illegal money lending, etc,” he said.
During the same period, 4,799 online gambling websites had also been blocked following official requests from the police.