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Gambling Laws in Malaysia

Online casinos are gaining more attention all over the world. Many of the best online casinos welcome players from Malaysia.

Any country in the world right now certainly has laws regarding gambling activities. Some countries are more open to allowing gambling activities under the supervision of certain organizations. Some countries that are more conservative ban gambling activities altogether. 

As a country with Islam as its official religion, Malaysia belongs to the second group, which is a country that prohibits open gambling. However, this prohibition does have certain exceptions, including online gambling for casinos abroad.

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Common Gaming Houses Act 1953

In Malaysia, all gambling activities fall under the jurisdiction of the Common Gaming Houses Act 1953. This Act was enacted in 1953 and has since undergone several amendments in 1958, 1959, 1961, 1989, 1992 (twice), and 2006. 

In general, this Act lists out penalties and fines for those who conduct gambling activities other than those permitted. The penalty includes a fine of RM20,000 to RM200,000 as well as imprisonment not exceeding 5 years.  

Some of the prohibited common offenses include opening a gambling center, running illegal gambling (including illegal racing and sports betting), running online gambling websites, as well as gambling activities at home. According to the Betting Act 1953, these are the definitions of common gaming houses: 

  1. Any place used for gambling, be it in cash or credit, and outdoor activities related to horse racing and sports betting.
  2. Any place kept or used for habitual gambling, on any such event or contingency as aforesaid, whether the public has or may have access to. 
  3. Any place used by a bookmaker to receive or negotiate bets or wagers on any such event or contingency as aforesaid. Such bets or wagers can reach the bookmaker by his agent’s hand or through the telephone, mail, or telegram. 

We have to keep in mind that this Act was enacted before websites and the Internet was present. Therefore, almost all parts of Malaysia’s gambling laws cover gambling houses’ offenses, which are gambling activities in a building. As a Malaysian citizen, you have to understand that all type of real-world gambling is completely prohibited. This includes card games, checkers, sports betting, slot machines, Mahjong, etc. 

Exceptions to the Betting Act 1953

However, there are some exceptions to this gambling ban. This most obvious exception is to lottery and horse racing companies. Certainly, you have seen these lottery stores, such as Magnum, Sports Toto, Da Ma Cai, and so on. These lottery agencies are allowed to operate under strict authority supervision. Other than that, the winning amount is also strictly controlled. 

Lottery and horse racing agencies are known as Totalizator Board. They are subject to the Totalizator Act 1961. 

The second exception is towards the casino in Genting Highlands. Out of the various tourist places in Malaysia, Genting Highlands is the only place that allows open gambling. The casino in Genting Highlands offers various regular casino games. This includes table games such as Roulette and Poker, as well as over 3000 slot machines. 

However, the Sky Casino that is located in Genting Highlands operates according to several conditions. First, they prohibit the entry of Muslims, and second, they only allow visitors over the age of 18. 

In conclusion, there are two types of Acts that allow gambling activities for non-Muslim citizens. These include:

  • Horse Racing Act 1961: Allows the betting on real horse racing.
  • Lottery Act 1953: Allows lottery betting
  • Licensed casino in Genting Highlands
Gambling laws in Malaysia

Shariah Laws for Muslims

In Malaysia, Muslims are subject to the Shariah laws set by their respective state governments. Shariah law covers matters that are prohibited by Islam. This prohibition includes the spread of blasphemy, adultery, alcohol, and gambling. 

Under the Shariah Laws of the Federal Territories, gambling activities fall under Section 18. According to this Section, any Muslims caught gambling or being at any gambling house can be fined not more than RM3000, or imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both. 

Here, gambling house refers to any building, premises, room, office, or stall, be it open or closed, kept, or used for betting games or combinations of betting games. These games can be allowed or prohibited by the law, and they can involve the wagering of cash or property worth a sum of money. 

In conclusion, Muslims in Malaysia are absolutely forbidden from gambling and entering gambling houses. However, this law is for real-world gambling. There is some ambiguity regarding the situation in the virtual or the online world.

Situations and Perceptions Regarding Gambling in Malaysia 

In general, any casino website or gambling website that operates in Malaysia is considered illegal. This organization falls under the definition of a ‘gambling house,’ a building used to accept bets in cash. 

Therefore, you always hear or read news where a group of foreigners or local citizens who conduct online gambling anywhere in Malaysia are caught and have their operations stopped. Furthermore, because Malaysia is a country where most of its citizens are Muslims, any open gambling operations will be scorned by the public. Religious organizations and certain political parties will oppose any move to legalize gambling more than what is currently allowed. 

Online Gambling in Malaysia

However, online casinos that operate from abroad cannot be controlled or monitored by Malaysian laws. They are free to operate with a license from another country and do not fall under Malaysia’s legal jurisdiction. You can find out more about the best casinos in the world here.

Casino websites overseas can be played anywhere you are, as long as you have a stable and fast Internet connection. This website can also be played in the privacy of your home and not in public places. 

Online casino websites that are based abroad accept bets through online payments. Usually, they accept payment through e-Wallet, credit cards, bank transfers, and others. You can refer to our article about methods of payment to find out more. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Only gambling websites from abroad can be played here.

There is only one licensed casino, which is in Genting Highlands. Other than that, lottery and horse racing companies are also allowed for non-Muslim gamblers.

Generally, gambling is prohibited in Malaysia because most of the citizens are Muslims, and gambling is forbidden in Islam.

If you live in Malaysia, licensed casinos overseas are the safest to play because your personal details are protected by the casino and will not be given to anyone.

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