There are lots of different forms of gambling in Malaysia that are currently legal, although due to religious reasons the local Muslim population is not permitted to gamble (around 60% of the population). In Malaysia, the citizens can gamble at a famous land-based casino called Genting, plus there are lots of slot machines, a lottery and also the ability to place a wager on the horses, but unfortunately, most other forms of sports betting are currently banned. In 2010 there was an effort to bring back legal sports betting activities but to no avail. Online gambling is also prohibited, but Malaysians still have access to foreign-owned websites that are licensed and operate from outside of the country.
Gambling History in Malaysia
The Betting Act in Malaysia first came in to effect back in 1952 and it pretty much outlawed almost every form of gambling imaginable. The new legislation that was introduced at the time even prohibited telecommunications and any other similar ways of being able to place a bet between a punter and a gambling venue, but this could be interpreted in several ways. For example, it has also been interpreted to include online gambling as well, even though the legislation stems from the early ’50s.
Malaysia also used to have land-based venues with gambling arcades and electronic horse racing machines, but these were banned by the government in 2000. There has always been a strange kind of two-tier system in place in Malaysia, and it still means that there’s one rule for Muslims and another for non-muslims. To this day though gambling is extremely popular with local citizens (the ones that can legally gamble) and with tourists and there is still a huge gambling market in Malaysia.
Malaysia Gambling & Online Gambling Laws
The dual justice system (both secular and religious) means that gambling is prohibited for the majority of the country who are bound by Sharia law, but the non-muslims that also includes mostly ethnic Chinese, Indian, and others are not bound by Sharia law. If the laws that apply to gambling are broken it’s considered a serious offence under Sharia law and it comes with a heavy sentence of up to two years behind bars.
For the rest of the country, certain forms of gambling are permitted at specially licensed venues, but those running illegal gambling operations at unlicensed venues are breaking the law. Internet café owners can even be prosecuted for allowing customers to gamble online. The Betting Act of 1952 only really applies to around 40% of the country’s population (and visiting tourists etc.) and this act was primarily directed towards sports betting, and bookmaking whereas the Common Gaming Houses Act of 1953 applies to most other forms of gambling.
The Malaysian government hasn’t blocked foreign-owned online gambling sites from aiming their business toward its citizens, and it seems as though the government also doesn’t pursue criminal charges in any way against the people who play in the real money mode at these websites. The Malaysian government only targets the operators of illegal online betting operations, most of which tend to be based outside of Malaysian borders and therefore the government has no jurisdiction over them.
Online Casino Benefits to Players from Malaysia
One of the main benefits for online casino players in Malaysia is that they can now sign up to and play at some of the best online casinos in the world. These casinos are free to sign up to, many of them now accept Malaysian Ringgit, and you can now deposit and withdraw at these casinos using one of several perfectly secure Malaysian online payment options. Players can use most major credit & debit creds to fund their account, as well as e-wallets, cryptocurrencies and one or two other reliable methods such as prepaid cards.
Malaysian online casinos today are powered by one or more of today’s leading online casino software providers, and this means that Malaysians have access to some of the very best games and the biggest online jackpots. Malaysians can also count on round the clock player support which is often provided in Malay/Malaysian, plus most other major languages are also supported. These casinos also have some of the most rewarding loyalty programs and ongoing bonus offers for Malaysian players to benefit from. These are just some of the main benefits to players from Malaysia who are looking to sign up to a fully licensed, well-established online casino.
FAQ Useful to Players from Malaysia
Can I play in my local currency of Malaysian Ringgit at online casinos?
Yes and No. Some online casinos accept MYR, but others don’t. However, you can still play at online casinos that don’t accept your preferred currency. You’ll just be playing in a currency that you may not be so familiar with (USD, GBP, EUR etc.)
Will I be breaking the law by playing at an online casino that operates from outside of Malaysia?
No. At the time of writing the Malaysian government doesn’t go after players who gamble at foreign controlled online casinos that are based offshore.
Can non-Malaysian controlled online casinos be trusted?
Yes. Provided they are controlled by trusted operators with proven track records and that they are fully licensed by renowned licensing authorities.
How do I know my personal details and my money are safe?
Today’s best Malaysian online casinos are protected by the same online security measures that banks and other financial institutions use (known as 256-bit Secure Socket Layer encryption technology).
What happens if I run into any difficulties at an online casino?
Should you encounter a technical issue, or have some kind of general question about the casino you can easily contact the player support via the free live chat or email support methods or by telephone (sometimes toll-free for Malaysian players).
Online Gambling Highlights in Malaysia
- Malaysian players can now choose between playing at hundreds of the world’s best online casinos
- No signup fee needed and there are plenty of reliable Malaysian online payment options now accepted at these casinos
- Most Malaysian online casinos today are available on desktop and mobile, and the games can be launched either from within a download client or instantly in your web browser
- Get a guaranteed new player welcome bonus when you register your free account (usually a matching deposit bonus) and/or a free spins bonus
- These casinos are fully licensed by trusted authorities, regulated by well-known online casino testing agencies and are controlled by reputable operators from the online and sometimes offline gambling industries
- Access to professionally trained player support agents usually 24-hours per day and via several different means (live chat, email and telephone etc.)
Problem Gambling Help in Malaysia
Compared to places like the United Kingdom that have numerous independent and state-run, non-profit organizations that deal with problem gambling, there are a lot fewer options for Malaysian players, but they do exist, and many of them offer free counselling, support and advice for gamblers with problems.
There’s also nothing stopping Malaysian players from seeking advice from the institutions that aren’t based in Malaysia. For example, Malaysian problem gamblers could easily visit the websites of Gamblers Anonymous, GamCare, Gamble Aware and others for both free and impartial advice. These websites also have telephone support lines, forums, chat rooms and various other forms of guidance and useful information.