By SU MYAT MON | FRONTIER
YANGON — A crackdown on illegal gambling at gaming centres in Yangon Region has resulted in scores of arrests and the seizure of millions of kyat so far this year, the regional assembly was told this week.
Regional Minister for Security and Border Affairs Colonel Tin Aung Tun warned that the government was taking serious action against violators, including officials who were taking bribes to ignore unlicensed gaming centres where illegal gambling was taking place.
He told the assembly on October 25 that there were 43 licensed gaming centres throughout the region and the licensing process would be tightened from next year.
“From 2017 it will not be easy to receive permission to open a gaming centre and the process for renewing licences will also be tightened,” said Tin Aung Tun.
“If you know where illegal gambling is taking place please inform me and I will assign police from the nearest station to make arrests,” he said.
The minister said 135 people had been arrested and more than K10 million seized in the region this year for illegal gambling offences, including operating unlicensed venues.
U Nay Phone Latt (National League for Democracy, Thingangyun-1) said the problem was more widespread that indicated by Tin Aung Tun.
Nay Phone Latt said game centres for youth were acting as a front for gambling and children and adults were betting large sums on illegal machines, he said.
His concerns were echoed by U Yan Shein (NLD, Mayangone-1) who said gambling slot machines were having a negative effect on society and some people were resorting to stealing and robbery after losing their money.