Gambling in Malaysia

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Malaysia’s history of gambling

Multiculturalism is embedded in Malaysia’s identity. From horse race betting famous with the English residents and gambling games popular with Chinese residents; Malaysia has been no stranger to the idea of gambling. Since gaining independence from Britain however, Malaysia has had a tricky relationship with it.

Islam is the religion of the majority in Malaysia and Sharia law affects both Islamic citizens and tourists. Under Sharia law any form of gambling, even stepping foot in a casino, is illegal. Islamic citizens and tourists can face up to 2 years imprisonment for visiting a legal casino. Luckily for the rest of the population in Malaysia and non-Muslim tourists, there are means of satisfying your gambling habits without the possibility of spending a night in a Malaysian jail cell.

The law’s Surrounding Gambling in Malaysia

Gambling is essentially illegal in Malaysia, however, there are a few exceptions. There are two main laws that affect gambling namely Sharia law and the Betting act of 1953. There aren’t many laws that regulate online gambling however online casinos operated out of Malaysia are illegal. The Racing Act of 1961 permits horse race betting.

Under Sharia Law:

  • All Muslims, even Muslim tourists, fall under Sharia Law in Malaysia.
  • Sharia law dictates that any form of gambling is illegal and a punishable offense.
  • No Muslim can participate in legal casinos, betting on races or in the lottery.
  • Online gambling is also illegal to those who fall under Sharia Law.

Under the betting act of 1953:

  • This law applies to all non-Muslim residents and tourists of Malaysia.
  • The law emphasizes that anyone participating in illegal forms of gambling may be fined or imprisoned or both.
  • The act does specifically exclude approved and licensed betting from the penalties imposed on unlawful gambling.
  • The act has been amended several times since its inception however it remains ambiguous about online gambling.

Land-based Gambling Options that are legal

Casinos:

  • There are 3 casinos that are legally operated in Malaysia namely Monte Carlo, Hollywood and StarWorld.
  • All 3 legal casinos operate out of Casino de Genting which is in a resort approximately one hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur.
  • There is currently being built a ship that is fully equipped to be a casino. It will operate out of Malaysia and will be able to pick up Malaysian residents and tourists.

Lottery:

  • There are 3 lottery companies operating in Malaysia namely Sports Toto, Magnum 4D and Pan Malaysian Pools.

Other:

  • Betting on horse races is allowed in Malaysia but only if the bets are placed at the race grounds.
  • The Racing Act of 1961 emphasizes that the bets being placed at horse races must physically be done at the premises hosting the event.

Online Gambling

Online casinos have become a virtual haven for gamblers in Malaysia. It is important to note the clear distinction between online casinos operating inside Malaysia and foreign online casinos.

Domestically operated online casinos are completely illegal in Malaysia. Apart from being illegal, it is often unwise to gamble at Malaysian-operated online casinos. They are unregulated and often will try to hustle you by fixing the bets in their favor.

Offshore online casinos are the safe and reliable option for most Malaysians who partake in gambling. They can do so from the comfort of their own home as well as from little to no interruption from the authorities. These are often large companies from countries that have a regulated market. Therefore, they are more reliable when it comes to handling your funds than their domestic counterparts.

What Are the Best Foreign Online Gambling Websites?

The two best countries to trust for online casinos and betting sites are the Philippines and the UK.

The Philippines:

  • Bodog88.com is the Asian version of Bodog who have been in the online gambling industry since 1994.
  • Bodog88 has online casino facilities as well as sports betting and mah-jong facilities. It also boasts a partnership with many Malaysian banks to make money transferring easy and secure.
  • Dafa888 is the Asian version of Dafabet. They have sponsored notable sports teams such as Everton FC in England. Dafa888 also holds partnerships with many Malaysian banks to ensure safety and reliability of money transfers.
  • Money can be deposited and withdrawn easily using EFT or certain ATM’s for both these websites.
  • Both these sites are regulated by official regulators in Malaysia.

The UK:

  • Bet365.com is a popular website and is heavily regulated in the UK.
  • Bet365 has online casino facilities, sports betting and more to offer.
  • Bet365 has a truly immense variety of sports to place bets on. The most notable being the English Premier League as well as most Malaysian soccer leagues and even badminton.
  • Ladbrokes.com is an example of another online gambling site with the same capabilities but has a smaller choice of sports to bet on.
  • Both these sites work the same when it comes to depositing funds from Malaysia.
  • Ladbrokes and Bet365 do not accept deposits from Visa or Mastercard cards that are linked to Malaysian bank accounts.
  • One would need to set up a United States Dollar (USD) account to be able to deposit using a card linked to a Malaysian bank account.
  • Entropay (entropay.com) is an example of a site that sets up a virtual visa account in USD that will work to deposit Malaysian Ringgit to Ladbrokes and Bet365.

What is The Best Option for Gambling in Malaysia?

Due to the strict laws surrounding land-based gambling, it is important to take caution and to seek advice before-hand. The ambiguous laws surrounding online gambling and the easy access to the internet in Malaysia makes it the best choice. Whether you fancy is betting on Ronaldo scoring that 90th-minute screamer or playing Texas Hold ‘em, online you can have it all. As well as being able to participate in nearly every version of gambling one can do so from the comfort of their own home (or hotel room with fast Wi-Fi) with no fear of police intervention.