The Legality of Betting Online in Malaysia


Sports are popular all over the world. There isn’t a single person in the world that doesn’t like at least one sport. The same can be said for Malaysia. Malaysians represent a part of the Asian market and its citizens like sports as much as anyone else.

They like betting on sports as well which is why you’ll see Malaysians at online sportsbooks. They can visit sites where Americans bet online if the sportsbook offers its services to Malaysians. With this kind of premise, one must think that betting on sports is legal in the country. In fact, it’s quite the opposite which is why you must be stumped as to how can Malaysians place their bets online without breaking the law.

The truth is that the situation is a bit complicated. The legislation of the country is a bit out of date which is why sports betting online in Malaysia is a complex issue.

The Legislation

There are 3 pieces of legislation to consider when tackling the issue of online sports betting in Malaysia. The most recent one is the Betting Act of 1953. It explicitly prohibits all kinds of betting and takes a detailed approach to all sorts of loopholes that one may use. Anyone that’s caught betting online in Malaysia is subject to a fine and up to 5 years in jail.

The second piece of legislation is also from the same year and it’s the Common Gaming Houses Act. The Betting Act covers all forms of betting and the Common Gaming Houses Act covers any form of gaming. Just like the previous act, it covers this in great detail. Anyone that has been caught in any form of gaming is subject to a fine and up to 6 months in jail.

The majority of Malaysians are Muslim and Islam is governed by Sharia Law which is recognized in all Malaysian courts. Any non-Malaysian citizen is exempt from this law, but the majority isn’t. The bottom line is that Sharia Law doesn’t look friendly to any form of betting on sports, online or otherwise.

But despite these pieces of legislation, Malaysians can bet on sports online at sites that cover Malaysian bettors. They like following up on important matches in a variety of sports and they can place bets relatively safely. Most cases of online sports betting in Malaysia are tolerated because the legislation hasn’t been updated for some time.

The Future of Sports Betting in Malaysia

Malaysians can place bets at online sportsbooks that operate legally. They can’t operate a casino on Malaysian soil either. But this could change in the future. One could take a look at how the USA resolved the problem of sports betting online. Some states have legalized it and some have decided to not legalize it, but the legislation had to change. The situation so far has lots of states that have decided to give online betting a chance. The government has more revenue because of it which benefits the economy as a whole.

For online sports betting in Malaysia to be legal, the law has to change. The outdated regulations need to be updated or a new law should be proposed. With the new law, Malaysia can change its mind about online sportsbooks and let operators offer their services to Malaysian bettors. This would require the forming of a regulative body that will impose regulations that the operators need to follow. Naturally, this body will also issue licenses to these operators.

Betting on sports online can be legal throughout the country or it can be limited to certain regions. Both options require a regulative body and proper legislation. Time will tell if the Malaysian government will choose to stick to its current legislation or will take another look at betting on sports online.

If the government chooses to change its mind and introduce new legislation Malaysians will be able to bet on sports in their own country. Moreover, some might even take the side of an operator and offer a Malaysian-based site to Malaysian bettors. The government will tax these operators and will see an increase in tax revenue which can be used to improve the country’s economy. The future will tell how the Malaysian government will decide to act.

About Neel Achary 19608 Articles
Neel Achary is the editor of Business News This Week. He has been covering all the business stories, economy, and corporate stories.