KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — The Federal Territories Ministry will not approve applications to set up recreation and sports clubs until further notice after a number of them were found to be fronting illegal electronic gambling centres.
Its minister, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, said yesterday the number of illegal gambling centres operating under the guise of clubs that promoted sports like pool, snooker and soft darts had been mushrooming in the city.
We have enforced stricter rules and City Hall has since this month stopped issuing such licences,” he said.
“We want to see a reduction in the number of illegal gambling facilities.”
Sunday Mail reported City Hall had issued orders to seal eight premises — five in Taman Shamelin Perkasa and three in Taman Alam Damai — for promoting illegal electronic gambling.
It seized gaming machines worth about RM500,000 from the clubs, five of which were within a 1km radius in Taman Shamelin Perkasa.
City Hall had carried out 517 similar raids since October, and enforcement director Abdul Salim Mansor said the Cheras raids were just the ‘’tip of the iceberg’’.
Tengku Adnan, who officiated at the “Jom Shopping Chinese New Year 2017” event at Sogo Shopping Complex yesterday, said: “We are no longer issuing licences for entertainment outlets, so if such outlets claim they are licensed to operate, it’s not true.
“We do not want to issue these licences because they will only be used to mask illegal activities.”
Tengku Adnan also said the authorities had come up with new guidelines, effectively immediately, for cyber cafes as they may also double up as illegal electronic gaming houses.
“Cyber cafes are only allowed to operate on ground floors or inside shopping malls. No more two-storey cyber cafes,” he said.
“They are also prohibited from having dark, tinted windows so people on the outside can see activities taking place within.”
The new guidelines would enable enforcement officers to easily detect illegal activities in these cyber cafes.
Tengku Adnan said the crackdown on the gambling dens was part of “Ops Bah”, an integrated operation by City Hall and other authorities against illegal entertainment centres.
“This is an ongoing effort to ensure Kuala Lumpur is free of such outlets,” he said.
“We are also working closely with other parties including the Immigration Department, police and utility companies.”
Malay Mail checks found a number of recreation and sports clubs offering facilities such as pool, snooker and electronic soft darts for members.
City Hall enforcement director Abdul Salim Mansor said these centres were licensed to offer electronic gaming to members only.
He acknowledged that snooker and pool had been promoted to inculcate interest in the sports.
“These are licensed sports entertainment outlets which promote pool, snooker and soft darts,” he said.
“City Hall allows this as billiards and snooker are among the games played in SEA Games and we want to show our support and help produce more future athletes.
“In fact, if a snooker centre has coaches that are sanctioned by the National Sports Council, the licensing fee will be waived.”
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1st AUGUST 2017
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