KUALA LUMPUR - Illegal betting for this year's World Cup is set to hit a record high - thanks to smart technology which will allow punters to place bets from anywhere and at anytime.
Federal Secret Societies, Gambling and Vice Division (D7) principal assistant director Senior Asst Comm Roslee Chik said the total bets for the last World Cup in South Africa four years ago amounted to more than RM 438 million (S$170 million) nationwide.
"We expect this year's tournament to surpass that amount as syndicates and gamblers are using smartphones rather than laptops.
"In the 2010 World Cup, we only had to deal with syndicates and gamblers using laptops but now smartphones have become the tool of the bookies," he said.
Some of the gambling apps that are easily available are M88 Sports, IBCBET and SBOBET.
"We have started preparations in the last three weeks and we are ready to come down hard on anyone involved in illegal football betting," SAC Roslee told a press conference in Bukit Aman yesterday.
Betting on football matches is illegal in Malaysia and even those who place bets on betting websites that are legal in other countries will face action.
Johor police have also set up a taskforce in every district to check on gambling activities and will focus on premises such as cybercafés and restaurants that offer live matches.
Johor police chief Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff had these words of advice for those likely to get into bigger trouble by borrowing from loan sharks: "Just enjoy the games. There is no need to bet."
Sabah police have set up eight teams for the Ops Soga 5 to combat football betting activities.
State CID chief Senior Asst Comm Omar Mammah said the police did not want to reveal details of their operations so they could catch the bookies and the gamblers by surprise.