Yangon govt gets tough on gambling arcades
The regional security and border affairs minister yesterday pledged to personally intervene and arrest game shop and arcade owners that run illegal gambling centres with slot machines.
THE Yangon Region government plans to crack down on illegal coin gaming stations in order to reduce gambling, parliamentarians decided yesterday.
Regional Security and Border Affairs Minister Colonel Tin Aung Tun told the regional hluttaw that the government will inspect the coin game stations and take action if they are found to be used for gambling.
“The government allows the game stations for children, but the game shops are letting their customers gamble,” he said. “That could be a crime.”
Negotiations with the relevant ministry have led to a ban on importing gambling slot machines, according to the regional government. The security and border affairs minister asked 44 township administrators and police forces to inspect their local game stations and arcades.
In Yangon, several arcades offer slot machines but authorities have not yet taken action against them. Fishing arcade-style games are also popular in the slot machine sections.
MP U Yan Shin (NLD; Mayangone 1) said yesterday that the game stations conceal the gambling slot machines when authorities inspect their stations. When the inspectors leave, the machines are turned back on, he said.
“I do not understand why the authorities did not inspect certain game stations,” he said. “Young people have been ruined by the fishing games. A lot of money has been lost playing this game. The government should inspect effectively.”
Col Tin Aung Tun responded that if members of the public discover gambling slot machines, they should inform the township police force and the local administrator.
“If the township police force and administrator fail to arrest them, please inform me,” he said. “I will personally instruct them to make arrests immediately and we will take action against the owners of the game stations.”
The game stations have already paid licence fees for the 2016-17 fiscal year. Col Tin Aung Tun said the terms and conditions of these licences could be treated differently in the future, depending on the decision of the chief administrator.
There are 43 game stations with licences in the Yangon Region, according to the regional government, and the police have arrested 135 people and seized nearly K10 million (US$7800) in gambling cases this year.
‘If the township police force and administrator fail to arrest them, please inform me.’
Colonel Tun Aung Tun Security and border affairs minister