As World Cup approaches, SBTech preps Asian sportsbook, Malaysia preps the cane

sbtech-football-malaysiaTurnkey sports betting solutions provider SBTech will unveil its new Asian-facing online and mobile sportsbook offering at next week’s Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia in Macau. The new platform offers full coverage of all popular Asian bet types, including Asian handicap and over/under options. It also offers punters the ability to effortlessly switch between sports bets and SBTech’s integrated premium casino offering with a single-wallet sign-on. SBTech CEO Itai Zak says the product allows “betting from anywhere; punters can start betting at a retail location or with an agent and continue online from home.”

For shame, cries the Ping Wo Fund Advisory Committee (PWFAC), a Hong Kong-based organization trying to convince people not to bet on sports. With the 2014 FIFA World Cup now just weeks away, the PWFAC has launched an anti-gambling campaign with a particular focus on youth who PWFAC chairman Yau Wing-Kwong believes might try gambling “out of curiosity and peer pressure.” The Hong Kong Jockey Club is one of the main sponsors of the campaign, which includes TV and radio spots along with a roadshow in shopping hotspots. PWFAC member Howard Ling says the intent is to prevent kids from turning into problem gamblers, because “prevention is always better than cure.”

Particularly if the cure involves caning, an acceptable form of punishment in Malaysia. Local police are gearing up for their biggest anti-betting crackdown since the last World Cup, when local bettors wagered an estimated MYR 500m (US $154m). Penang State CID Chief Mazlan Kesch told the Rakyat Post that this year’s anti-bookie operation doesn’t yet have a codename but early monitoring of betting activity has already begun and the police are planning an even “more aggressive crackdown this time around.” Earlier this year, Malaysia announced the formation of a 200-strong police task force devoted to catching illegal betting operators and/or caning them real good if any of the judges who pass sentence happened to have lost money betting that day.