While the Berjaya Group's second attempt is likely to stir protests from certain quarters, others have said that it should be allowed and taxed by the government, seeing that many Malaysians are already betting illegally on sports.
"It will likely divert money from illegal football betting. It will also take some of the gaming market share lost to Singapore with the opening of its first casino recently," said an industry observer.
In a report dated May 26, 2006, Mayban Securities had estimated that the value of daily legal gaming was RM850 million, with illegal gambling estimated at around the same amount. This gives the total size of estimated daily gambling in Malaysia at around RM1.7 billion.
"Assuming that this amount is doubled during the World Cup month, there may be an additional RM1.7 billion being gambled daily," the report had said.
Gaming analysts said Berjaya Sports Toto Bhd (BToto) was most likely to benefit if sports betting was legalised here. BToto is one of the country's three listed numbers forecast operators (NFO), which include Magnum Corp Bhd and Tanjong plc.
While betting on football is illegal in Malaysia, Singapore has legalised it since 1999.
It was reported that Singapore first introduced legalised football betting on S-League games in 1999.
In 2002, sports betting was extended beyond S- League games to include matches played in the World Club 2002.
Sports betting was subsequently further extended to allow for legalised betting on international football matches, the English Premier League and other European and Asian football leagues as well.
Sports betting has today gained widespread acceptance in Singapore.
|Italy’s players celebrating their World Cup triumph in Germany in 2006. Malaysians may be able to share in their joy soon once sports betting is legalised in country in time for World Cup 2010 in South Africa in June.|