The online gaming industry is allegedly well-connected in its management and apparently untouchable by many accounts across South-East Asia. The Goods and Service Tax (GST) is now set to come into effect, and the industry seems to be able to get away with a low 6% total when all is said and done.
The tax is not without its positives, but the number is low for such a lucrative online gambling industry in Sabah. It can be considered a win as the gaming industry has been working under the radar and without taxation for some time. Still, the 6% cuts into operators’ purses, and that cannot make any of them happy.
The “capital of gaming” in Sabah is Penampang, and it is there that one can see just how intensive the gambling industry is, in both its legal and illegal manifestations. Hundreds of millions ringgit are dumped into the unregulated industry, according ot reports, and the well-informed and well-connected make out with hefty sums on a consistent basis.
Many say that won’t end for those who gain the most, despite supposed regulations. Many operators of online games in the area are on the outskirts of the city, and so they skirt the rule altogether. Jurisdiction issues clash with privacy issues for those who want to implements wider sweeping taxation policies.
The newly elected parliamentarian Darell Leiking is among those who cast doubts on the constituency that operates gaming industries, while Penampang PKR deputy chief Kenny Chua stated that illegal gambling has morphed into a scourge within the area.
“Our PKR Kepayan Task Force has been inundated with numerous complaints from the people in Penampang relating to these cybercafes offering illegal cyber gambling.”
“While we acknowledge that the police has been doing commendable job by raiding these illegal premises, we are shocked with the intractability shown by the masterminds behind this cyber-gambling by continuously operating their illegal business once the raid had slowed down,” Chua said.
The problem noted by all politicians is not the legal gambling activities, that give a strong boost the to economy through taxation and fees paid. Instead, it is the unregulated and rampant ‘underground gambling’ that creates a strong and nefarious underbelly. The activities hurt legitimate gamblers as well.
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