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Malaysia online sports betting laws

Many people in Malaysia enjoy sport, and the opportunity to bet on it. However, online sports betting in Malaysia is technically illegal as no operators are licensed to offer odds on sports events. The good news is that there is a growing momentum behind efforts to legalize sports betting here and the gambling law in Malaysia may eventually change.

Is sports betting legal in Malaysia?

As in many countries, the position over the legality of sports betting is a little unclear in Malaysia. A simple reading of the law suggests that all forms of gambling are illegal in this Muslim country. However, it is believed that up to $25million is staked every day in Malaysia on soccer matches around the world. Possibly persuaded by this staggering figure, there is an ongoing push in Malaysia to legalize some form of sports betting on soccer . However, opposition to gambling in all forms is firmly entrenched throughout Malaysian society, and particularly among its rulers.

The Common Gaming Houses Act and the Betting Act, both passed in 1953, details the law as it relates to bricks-and-mortar premises. You are not allowed to run betting operations or to permit gambling in public places. That said, no legislation has ever been passed that specifically outlaws online sports betting. While some may argue that this effectively legalizes the practice, there have been instances of people being arrested for illegal gambling – though the focus has been on the organizers of such activities rather than the participants.

There are a few select places where sports betting can take place in Malaysia. These are the three racecourses located within this country of 33 million people. Only when you are actually present enjoying the sport of horse racing are you permitted to stake a wager on the races. Betting is operated on a pari-mutuel or pool basis.

The picture is further complicated by the fact that there are several offshore sportsbooks that offer their services to people resident in Malaysia. Many of these are trusted household names of the international betting scene – but the fact remains that they are not licensed to operate in the country.

If you decide you wish to place bets with one of these operators, it is highly advisable to use one with a strong reputation for treating its customers fairly. It is also wise to create a virtual private network (VPN) so that your activity is not traceable to you; and when it comes to the financial side, banks will block any gambling transactions. So the best way to bet is by setting up an e-wallet with companies such as Skrill or Neteller.

What odds format is used in Malaysia?

Malay odds

One of Malaysia’s most intriguing contributions to the world of betting is Malay odds. This is a format for expressing the probability of a particular outcome that is unique to Malaysia. How do they work? Let’s take an example of an even-money favorite with, technically, a 50-50 chance of winning a race.

In decimal odds, this would be expressed as 2.0; in fractional odds, popular in the UK and Ireland, 1/1 (or evens); and on moneyline , +100. In Malay odds, this is shown as 1.000. That’s because they show the stake required to win one unit. If the favorite is longer than evens, the Malay odds are shown with a minus number. So a horse at 3.0 on decimal odds would be -0.5000 on Malay odds. Malay odds are potentially confusing at first but with a bit of practice they soon become familiar.

Top sports in Malaysia


Soccer is by a long way the most popular sport in Malaysia, from the point of view of participants, spectators and, it has to be said, bettors too. Even though sports betting here is technically illegal, the sheer weight of money staked on soccer matches by people in Malaysia is assisting a push for legalization and the licensing of betting operators. People in Malaysia enjoy watching the big leagues in Europe and elsewhere, but they also have plenty of local action to watch. The Malaysia Super League sits at the top of a pyramid that also features clubs from state, local and amateur leagues. The Malaysia soccer team is ranked 155th in the world as of late 2021.

Malaysia sports betting FAQs

Is gambling legal in Malaysia?
Is online gambling legal in Malaysia?
What is the most popular sport in Malaysia?