Shortly after China announced its crackdown on World Cup gambling, Malaysia has taken a similar route, arresting hundreds of people for taking part in illegal soccer betting since the tournament began two weeks ago. Malaysia’s blitz has not yet reached the height of China’s but it is expected to get more serious and vigorous over time.
Over 100 sportsbookers have been arrested so far, the youngest of which is a 15-year-old student. Other sportsbookers are reportedly involved in criminal activities throughout the country. The vast majority of individuals arrested, however, ran unplanned operators, taking bets spontaneously at bars and coffee shops. Some sportsbookers had even set up gambling operations online.
Malaysian police made their most recent arrests on Sunday, apprehending a four-member family who ran a betting ring out of their family-owned restaurant.
Charges have not been made, as officials are still investigating the operations that have taken World Cup wagers. If the 120 arrested sportsbookers are charged, they face up to 5 years in prison. Malaysian officials state that these individuals have taken more than $950 million (CAD) in bets from people all over the country, but no money has yet to be seized. It is estimated that each year, nearly $6.5 billion is spent on illegal sportsbetting and football betting contributing 90% of that total.