A Malaysian teenager whose high-stakes gambling habits have earned him the nickname “Little Dragon” has racked up losses in the neighborhood of 8 million ringit (US$2.3 million) betting on sports online.
The teen began placing wagers at online sportsbooks in Malaysia at the age of 16, and accumulated these tremendous losses over the course of three years. The boy’s father was also a compulsive gambler, though he was also a multi-millionaire businessman who was actually able to support his gambling habit.
The father was aware of his son’s sports betting habits, and though he was the one paying off the boy’s debts, he let the gambling continue. When the losses hit the 8 million ringit mark, however, he barred his son from gambling. The teenager was pursuing a degree at a college in Petaling Jaya, but frequently used his tuition money to bet on sports in Malaysia. His father recently took him out of university and gave him a job at his company.
“This teenager grew up watching his father gamble and at the age of 16, he began to gamble after gambling agents gave him a credit line of 100,000 ringgit. Each time he was buried in debt, his father would bail him out. Over these three years, there have been several bail-outs,” said Teh Kim Poo of the Barisan Nasional coalition.
The boy’s gambling was done in internet cafes, many of which provide clandestine access to internet sportsbooks. Sports betting is forbidden in Malaysia, but easy access to foreign-based online sports betting sites means local punters have an easy time finding places to place bets. Since these offshore gambling sites are outside of the Malaysian government’s jurisdiction, this online sports betting usually goes unchecked.