DVB Multimedia Group

All bets off – Mandalay looks to tackle illegal gambling

"The Gamblers", a painting by Thomas Rowlandson (1756- 1827)

A proposal urging local authorities to stamp down on illegal gambling operations was tabled at the regional assembly in Mandalay on Wednesday.

Chanaye Tharzan Township MP Tin Tin Mar, who put forward the proposal on 25 March, stressed that illegal gambling had increased across the city and called on the local government to detail the steps it has taken to tackle the problem.

“Gambling operations have become more rampant in districts across Mandalay,” she said. “Only though government action will we be able to help families extricate themselves from the poverty caused by gambling.”

She said the two-digit and three-digit lottery is largely popular among women, while men prefer to bet on football.

Mandalay Division Border and Security Affairs Minister Col. Aung Kyaw Moe said authorities had taken action on 434 cases in 2014 and 51 cases up to 19 March this year. He urged the public to be vigilant and report any such illegal operations to the relevant authorities.

Other MPs who joined in Wednesday’s debate in the assembly complained that such motions had been tabled before, but no effective action had ever been taken to curb illegal gambling.

The most popular lottery is nhit-lone (two digit or “2D”), in which local grocers, shopkeepers and businessmen often double as bookies .The winning numbers are generated by the Thai Stock Exchange: the first digit before the decimal marker of its main index and the last digit of the total value of shares traded.

Gambling is also a grave concern among the struggling classes in Rangoon with no social safety net to catch those who fall into addiction and bankruptcy.