Golf simulators are latest gambling craze in Malaysia

Exhibitors show the latest in golf simulators at the China Golf Show 2013 in Beijing.

Golf has always been a popular vehicle for gambling in the United States and Europe, and apparently also in Malaysia, where police think it’s become a problem. Authorities in George Town, the capital city of Malaysian island state Penang, shut down a golf gambling organization that had been running for a “very long time.”

According to The Rakyat Post, police conducted a four-hour raid on the gambling site — an old building only a few blocks from the coast in George Town — and left with 40 employees, almost $40,000 worth of Malaysian currency and tokens, along with 20 virtual simulators and assorted golf clubs.

This was not your traditional gambling ring, and it did not include betting on professional or tournament golf. Virtual bowling and virtual golf were bet on, making the place seem more like a gambling arcade than a traditional betting joint.

The wagering system seems to have been somewhat complicated, revolving around participant guesses of how far they could hit a golf ball on the simulators or how many pins they would knock down, which would determine how much money could be won. 

“We feel this is the first time such betting done in the state, perhaps even in the country, has been unearthed,” said local police official Mazlan Kesah at a press conference.

Kesah also said that the organization, which fronts as a karaoke bar and pool hall, was raided on Aug. 24 when only a few employees were taken. The ring had reopened after only a few days, but at this point, will probably be shut down for good.

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