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