Deputy minister: Malaysia loses RM2b annually in taxes to online gambling

·1-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 — Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin has revealed that Malaysia loses about RM2 billion annually in taxes to online gambling.

In an exclusive interview with The Star, Zahid said the government is looking at amending the Common Gaming Houses Act 1953 to allow online games involving "betting” and "gift offers” to be regulated.

He pointed out that online games over the years have become very popular worldwide, including in Malaysia, and some impose fees on their players.

"Some of the operators also offer ‘gifts’, and we are also hoping to regulate this as well.

"This is where we license them,” he was quoted saying by the English daily.

He said most of these players comprise foreigners.

Zahidi said the Finance Ministry is preparing to amend and consider the best taxation method.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told The Star that the Finance Ministry was contacted two months ago, and offers to amend the law on its behalf were made.

"In principle, the law is under MoF’s jurisdiction, but we cannot amend it unless we are given the power to do so,” he said adding that they are for the ministry's confirmation on the issue.

He also said the law on gambling is outdated, especially when it pertains to online gaming and that being unable to regulate it would be a loss to the country in terms of revenue.

"These taxes can be used to solve many problems... issues with roads, drains and others but the government is unable to do so because it does not have a mechanism,” he was reported saying.