Yangon govt gets tough on gam­bling ar­cades

The Myanmar Times - - Front Page - YE MON yeemon­tun@mm­times.com

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

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