Jun 15, 2010


“I have already made my statement, no more statement on this. No, the licence has not been issued,” he told reporters during press conference at the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department here.

The Finance Minister has been elusive on the sports betting licence after it was reported that Berjaya Corporation had confirmed that the Treasury has approved the licence for Ascot Sports in its filing to Bursa Malaysia about its acquisition of the company.

“The Minister of Finance has given its approval for the re-issuance to Ascot of the licence to carry out sports betting operations upon certain terms and conditions,” the announcement wrote.

However the Treasury had earlier denied that the government awarded betting licence to Ascot Sports.

The Finance Ministry told parliament on June 7 that government has not yet concluded its discussions and terms regarding the legalisation of gambling.

“The government has yet to issue a license to Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd for bookie operation in Malaysia.

“The government has also not concluded discussions on the terms and conditions for licensing to Ascot Sports for bookie operations in Malaysia,” the ministry said in a written reply.

The Ministry also said that was still open to feedbacks from various parties.

Berjaya Corp reported that the government had last month re-issued the licence to Tan after the original licence was cancelled by the previous Abdullah administration. The tycoon’s son — Datuk Robin Tan Yeong Ching — will retain his 30 per cent stake in the company.

Vincent Tan had first obtained the licence in 1987 but had “asked the government to take it back” when the venture was unsuccessful. But he has now obtained the right to get the licence back and was exercising it.

Berjaya Corp, a gaming, property and hospitality group, told Bursa Malaysia on May 12 that it plans to purchase a controlling stake in Ascot Sports, which has been re-issued a conditional sports betting licence by the Finance Ministry.

It said Tan has also agreed to guarantee that the company will make a cumulative net profit of at least RM375 million for the first three years of operation and had backed it by offering to deposit RM81.25 million worth of listed securities while Berjaya Corp will withhold RM125 million cash from the total purchase price.

Berjaya Corp said it will finance the initial consideration of RM400 million by undertaking a renounceable rights issue of up to RM614.46 million nominal value of 10-year eight per cent irredeemable convertible unsecured loan stocks (Iculs), done on the basis of one RM1 nominal value of Iculs for every eight Berjaya Corp shares owned.

It added that Tan has undertaken to subscribe to his and his private companies’ entitlements in full, which would amount to at least RM400 million.

Ascot Sports, which is currently a dormant company, recorded net liabilities and net loss of RM11.2 million and RM4.6 million respectively for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2008.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussein told reporters on May 6 that the government was considering issuing the licence to curb illegal gambling -THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER

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