COMMENT | In 1965, the government gave a licence for casino operations in Genting Highlands. Three years later, the first four-digit lottery licence was awarded to a private company which is now known as Magnum Bhd.
The Totalisator Board through the turf clubs had operated a three-digit lottery before it was privatised.
The government also allowed the setting up of Sports Toto and proceeds were to be used for sports activities in 1969. However, in 1985, it was privatised and it is not immediately known if part of Sports Toto’s profits continues to go into sports.
In 1962, Mohammed Khir Johari opened the first brewery – Malayan Breweries Ltd in Kuala Lumpur. In 1966, then prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman launched the opening of the Guinness Brewery in Sungei Way, Selangor. In 1971, the prime minister of the day Abdul Razak Hussein officially opened the Carlsberg Breweries in Shah Alam.
Over the years, the “sin tax” collected from both the breweries and the lottery operators run into hundreds of billions. This does not include the excise duties imposed on imported beer and hard liquor which too would run into...