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Gambling Laws in Malaysia

by sam.h

Gambling Laws

Like most countries, there are established laws put in place to combat gambling, specifically the setup of physical casinos. However, there are instances of governments changing their stance on casinos. For example, Singapore changed their stance on the establishment of casino in April of 2005 when they announced the construction 2 casino resorts (Resorts World Sentosa Casino & Marina Bay Sands Casino)

There are several laws put in place to combat gambling in Malaysia, namely the Betting Act 1953 and Pool Betting Act 1967.

Malaysia’s Stance on Gambling

Being a dominantly Muslim country, the Sharia Law applies to all Muslims. Under Malaysian law, all ethnic-Malays are required to be a Sunni Muslim. They are therefore subject to Islamic Law which makes gambling a serious offense.

Therefore, the mentioned legal forms of gambling mentioned above are mostly designed to target non-Muslims. The Betting Act 1953 is about 20 pages and is written to counter most loopholes. Here is one of the primary extract which elaborates on gambling:

i. any place kept or used for betting or wagering whether such betting or wagering, be in cash or on credit, on any event or contingency of or relating to any horse race or other sporting event or lottery to which the public or any class of the public has, or may have, access;
ii. any place kept or used for habitual betting or wagering on any such event or contingency as aforesaid, whether the public has, or may have, access thereto or not; or
iii. any place used by a bookmaker for the purpose of receiving or negotiating bets or wagers on any such event or contingency as aforesaid, whether such bets or wagers reach the bookmaker by the hand of the person placing the bet or his agent or the bookmaker’s agent or through the telephone or the post or by telegram or by any other means;

Malaysia Betting Act 1953

However, the regulation has not been updated to adapt to modern times where casino is moved into the online internet-scape.

Online Gambling in Malaysia

In Malaysia, there are no strict regulations against using online casino sites hosted by other countries. For example, using the services of a betting site based in the Philippines that offers live casino & sports betting services from Malaysia is not illegal.

In terms of payments, most legitimate sites have an array of third-party payment methods to protect their user’s identities. The third-party payment methods achieve this by using official payment gateways that support many local banks (Maybank, Public Bank, CIMB, RHB, Hong Leong Bank, etc.).

There may very well be changes in the future applied to Malaysia’s stance on online gambling, until then, it is safe to say that playing in international websites is the preferred choice.

Potential Trend in the Future

Currently, the only legal, land-based casino in Malaysia is the aforementioned Genting Highlands Resort, which houses the Casino de Genting. Situated 6,100ft above sea level in the Titiwangsa Mountain Range, the ‘Fun City Above The Clouds’ also serves as a lucrative tourist attraction. With Singapore’s legislation of casinos being an example, it can be seen that taxing casinos the right way can help boost a country’s revenue stream as well as generating international appeal.

In terms of sports betting, some of the largest local markets in Malaysia includes badminton & soccer, with people of all ages taking part in the sport. There is a growing incentive to change the law to allow legal betting on football. With that said, it is currently still advised to stick to foreign betting sites that accepts Malaysia currency (MYR)

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