Fewer ‘special draws’ may impact funding for sports

Berjaya Sports Toto

The reduction of special draws for numbers forecast operators next year could lead to a drop in sin tax contribution to the National Sports Council (NSC).

While analysts believe the financial impact of the reduction “will be fairly minimal”, there are fears it could affect Berjaya Sports Toto’s contribution to NSC next year.

Berjaya Sports Toto’s Annual Report 2018 showed the NSC received RM40.338 million this year while RM36.994 million was contributed last year.

The matter has been described as a “delicate affair”.

Nevertheless, there is a need to find the perfect formula to assure sports associations obtain steady monetary assistance through the NSC – more so as the national athletes prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

And strict enforcement could be key in ensuring a win-win situation for the Finance Ministry, NSC and legal 4D gambling outlets.

Observers believe the government should come down hard on the black market as this will ensure punters stick to legal gambling outlets. This will in return beef up revenue, ensuring a higher contribution to the Finance Ministry and NSC.

NSC has been receiving funding from Berjaya Sports Toto for years and the money is used for administrative matters and day-to-day operations, among others. The contribution is over and above the annual allocation NSC receives through the Youth and Sports Ministry.

National sports associations, some being over-reliant on money from NSC, have voiced concern, saying they have not been able to plan for 2019 and are unable to send their athletes for competitions abroad.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the move was to reduce gambling days so that “gambling activities will not lead to social ills such as gambling addiction”.

The previous Barisan Nasional government had approved 22 Tuesday special draws for Magnum, Berjaya Sports Toto and Da Ma Cai for 2018.

Gambling addiction is not the only issue as administrators are also looking into religious sentiments.

Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff (PAS-Rantau Panjang) had, during the committee stage debate of Budget 2019 at Dewan Rakyat yesterday, mooted the separation of sin tax from the consolidated fund to ensure only money obtained through halal means is used to pay the wages of civil servants.