Officials Warn on Election Outcomes – Related Gambling

June 13, 2023 | illegal gambling

TAIPEI, Taiwan (June 11, 2023) — According to local media reports Prosecutor-General Hsing Tai-chao said foreign forces might attempt to interfere with next year’s legislative and presidential elections through election gambling rings, in which operators take wagers on election outcomes.

Foreign forces are likely to disseminate fake news and disinformation in “cognitive warfare” against the public, he added.

“Prosecutors, judicial investigators and local police must work together and share tasks during the upcoming campaign cycle, and crack down on illegal activities,” Hsing said while leading a work meeting at the Taitung County Prosecutors’ Office last week.

The Taipei Times reported Yunlin County Chief Prosecutor Tai Wen-liang as saying the top priorities are to closely monitor meddling by foreign forces and election betting pools.

Legislative and presidential elections are different from local and municipal elections, he said.

Foreign forces are most likely to utilize unlicensed gambling operations that wager on Taiwanese professional baseball and the traditional betting game based on the Mark Six lottery, which has local bookies, punters and contact channels, Tai said.

Illegal betting operations attract people to wager on local or central government candidates, offering large cash rewards and highly skewed odds, Tai said.

Previous investigations found that local bookies collect wagers and pass them on to middle and upper-level gambling operators, whose odds and offers of returns can affect election outcomes, he added.

“Portions of the winnings, funds to set up the betting pools and local-level bookies were found to be operated by forces outside of Taiwan,” Tai said.

Supreme Prosecutors’ Office officials alerted the public about illegitimate ways to “manipulate elections” through betting and offering high winnings.

To prevent such activities, the Ministry of Justice is offering a reward of up to NT$5 million (US$162,734) for information on election-based betting pools, and a NT$10 million maximum reward for information about foreign sources channeling money and other incentives into Taiwan in election-related business, the office said.

Election-related gambling has a greater influence on the outcome of elections than vote-buying in the form of handing out cash to local people, Hsing said.

“Therefore the judiciary must prioritize and deter this,” he said. “As high rewards are being offered in return for tip-offs, this will put pressure on operators and impede gambling pools from expanding.”

“It will have a good deterrent effect,” Hsing added.

SOURCE: Taipei Times.

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