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gambling a-way May 14, 2010

Posted by youppe in business, finance, investment, politics.

it’s funny. when you type ‘vincent tan ascot sports’ in Google Images, the search result’s first page is full of Ibrahim Ali pictures! it may be because Ibrahim Ali was accused by Saifuddin Nasution to be holding substantial shares in Vincent Tan’s sports betting company Ascot Sports (or Ibrahim himself misinterpreting Saifuddin’s ‘accusation’.. whatever) which has since been denied by the PERKASA president, but it was so funny nonetheless!! i expect to see Vincent Tan’s face, not him!! hahaha..

vincent tan, not ibrahim ali


Vincent Tan and his Berjaya Group have been itching for the government to legalize sports betting for quite some time, as it was estimated that this economic segment is worth as much as RM 20 billion annually. and of course, out of this the government is expected to receive around RM 4 billion per annum in tax revenue. and dreams do come true, at least for him. his privately-held Ascot Sports has been given the sports betting license he craved, at a very perfect timing (just before the World Cup!). a point to note, this license is actually being re-issued to Ascot Sports as it was first given to them in 1987 by the Mahathir-Tun Daim administration for one year, and they were given first right-of-refusal in case the government decided to ‘re-legalize’ sports betting in the future. which asnwers the question, why there was no open-bidding session for this license, in line with the PM’s New Economic Model (NEM) which aims to promote competitiveness and transparency and eradicate rent-seeking (pun intended). which begs another question; when it was awarded in 1987, was it through transparent, open-bidding process?

whatever it is, Vincent Tan wasted no time in moving his flagship Berjaya Corporation Bhd to acquire 70% of his interest in Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd for RM 525 million CASH. isn’t this RPT (related-party transaction)? i wonder if the Securities Commission will look into this matter seriously or even approve this deal, especially when the minority shareholders of BCorp will stand to lose while Vincent Tan gets RM 525 million richer, just like that! the details of the deal between Tan’s Berjaya Corp and Ascot Sports could be found here, but i’ll copy the summary in simple terms. look and wonder..

Before the exercise

      • Vincent Tan owns Ascot 100%
      • BCorp owns 0% of Ascot


After the exercise

Vincent Tan owns

      • 30% of Ascot and RM 525 million cash.
      • RM 125 million cash is held by BCorp to be released in stages.
      • RM 400 million cash is used to subscribe to his portion of the rights issue (ICULS).
      • Tan will not need to fork out cash as he will reinvest the entire initial consideration to be received from his disposal to subscribe to the rights issue.

BCorp minority shareholders

      • own BCorp which has debt (ICULS) of RM 614.5 million and asset of  70% of Ascot
      • give out of their pocket RM 214.5+ million to subscribe to their portion of the rights issue (ICULS) which is effectively a loan to be repaid at a later date.


still on the same subject but on another issue, while it is undeniable the economic gains represented by the sports betting industry, i am a little worried about the part where ‘the government will collect the billions of tax revenue and reinvest it to develop the nation’. some sources said it will be channeled specifically to the Kementerian Belia dan Sukan for sports development (whatever that is) while some said it will used not specifically but lumped into the nation’s entire budget. i confess i am not an ustaz or or even a good servant to God, but even i know anything coming from the sources which is prohibited by Islam is haram. sports betting is haram, so the money coming from it is also haram. it’s as simple as that, or am i the only one confused? please enlighten me, i hope there is some explanation to this. the infamous Zul Noordin, hate him or love him, did put some serious stuff in his blog reiterating the use of ‘tainted’ money is against syara’, read about it here. i hope an authority in religious matter will clear this out and allay my fears, that i am just a little confused about which is what.

but why hasn’t anyone said anything about the matter? no one dared?




ps… word on the street is that like G. Palanivel and Ezam Mohd Noor who were made Senators and in line for Cabinet appointments, this move is seen as a reward for Tan who has been loyal to the cause of BN, especially in terms of providing the cash to fund their more ‘underground’ operations. is this true? again, word on the street………….




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