Apr 29, 2010


Four former footballers yesterday threw their support behind a proposal to legalise sports betting ahead of the World Cup finals in South Africa.

They said legalising sports wagers would reduce illegal betting and match-fixing, but some said it could encourage people to go into debt.

Last month, the New Straits Times said sports betting may be legalised in time for the World Cup, which is being held from June 11 t o July 11.

Berjaya Group was seeking government approval to operate sports betting activities.

Datuk Soh Chin Aun, 60, a captain of the national team in the 1980s, said people would probably resort to illegal gambling if there was no legal option.

"I don't see any harm in it. If you don't legalise it, people would participate in illegal gambling. It should be legalised."

Maxis, Malaysia's top mobile operator, which has the exclusive right to deliver live coverage of all 64 World Cup matches to customers, said it would transmit the matches to its mobile users as well as on its satellite-TV service.

Corruption has long blighted football in Asia, particularly in Malaysia, Vietnam and China.

Asian Football Confederation chief Mohamed Hammam has described match-fixing as a "cancer" that was destroying the game in Asia.

Former national defender Santokh Singh, 58, said: "I think it is better for us to legalise betting. There will be no corruption and no match-fixing."

Former striker James Wong, 56, welcomed sports betting but cautioned it could cause "some harm" to society.

"Some people may take loans to gamble. Legalising betting may encourage people to bet.

"But it could help fight match-fixing, the biggest evil in football today."

Hassan Sani, 52, another ex-player, said: "The authorities should legalise betting. It will stop illegal betting."

Berjaya Group made a similar proposal a few years ago but then prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi shot down the request.

A senior Malaysian sports official said last month that the government could channel the revenue from legalised betting to promoting sport. -- AFP


  1. Let me make one thing clear, betting in football is part of Malaysian culture. Whether you legalise it or not, there will be betting. There is no moral stigma if a person indluge in football betting. How often do you hear in a world cup match or our National cup match someone curse or proclaim happily he l;ost or won money.
    Yes gambling is evil, horse racing is evil. Whether you legalise it or not it is going to happen.
    In the event it is legalise, it will be like Ladbrooks or William Hill in England. To Malaysia it will probably be like another Sports Toto outlet or Magnum 4D.
    What is really so bad about bettingt on football? To me it is wholesome, adds greater excitement when you have money riding on the Team you support.
    So there are some bad apples out there to spoil the name of the Game, but is it rampant? Don't listen to Mohammad Hamman, to him to bet on camel races is fine and legal in his country, but football is a no no.
    Whether you legalise it or you do not, betting is just a word. No one even bat an eyelid if you say it is illegal.

  2. Okay la, Football fan you have made a point, but if under Pak Lah of course cannot lah betting. It is HARAM!
    As long as Pak Lah does not endorse HARAM activities he is fine. Culture thing maybe la, but sasssh! cannot talk so loud after religious department chap will hand around football stadium to catch us la.
    Many thing in Malaysia happen but cannot talk so loud.Even in sports same same la