Vincent Tan’s RM525 million donation to the Better Malaysia Foundation is chicken-feed compared to the enormous potential market for sports betting.
The donation is actually a small ‘investment’ compared to what is at stake.
Berjaya Corporation paid RM525 million for Tan’s 70 per cent stake in Ascot, which was controversially awarded a sports betting licence recently.
Tan’s donation of the proceeds comes in the wake of growing disquiet about the impact of sports betting especially among low-income workers and their families.
Some random thoughts come to mind:
- The sports betting market is worth anywhere between RM7 billion to RM20 billion annually. So what is a one-off RM525 million donation compared to that?
- How much is Robin Tan’s 30 per cent share in Ascot now worth? Will he sell it to the public and donate the proceeds to charity too?
- Ascot is likely to be another cash cow for Berjaya Corporation. Even after the sale of his 70 per cent interest in Ascot, Vincent Tan holds a 25 per cent direct interest and a 28 per cent deemed interest in Berjaya Corporation, according to Berjaya Corp’s 2009 Annual Report.
- Vincent and Robin Tan are among the five trustees of the Better Malaysia Foundation.
- Vincent Tan has promised that the accounts of the Foundation will be audited and transparent with more independent board members roped in. So where is the website for this foundation (formerly VTCY Foundation), which was established in 1995? The audited accounts should be put on this website, and in the interest of transparency, an audited list of the previous recipients of aid from the foundation should be uploaded as well.