Malaysia online sports betting laws
Malaysia, and in particular the country's capital Kuala Lumpur, is a gambling hotspot. KL is home to the Monte Carlo Casino, Hollywood Casino and StarWorld Casino. But Malay gambling laws are quite interesting, and it illegal for a large chunk of the population to use these casinos – specifically Muslims. The same applies to other forms of gambling here, too.
The primary law that regulates gambling in Malaysia is the Betting Act of 1953. This was amended in 1958, 1959, 1961, 1989, 1992 (twice), and 2006. The link provided is to the current copy which includes all amendments.
This Act is about 20 pages and is written in simple easy to understand English. While there are many laws and very little is left out, let me mention the primary law for players. Here the penalty for unlawful gambling is set at “a fine not exceeding five thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.”. It also includes much stricter laws for those involved in operating, promoting or having any non-player involvement in gambling businesses.
There are however many forms of legal gambling under the Betting Act. It specifically states the penalties do not apply to approved and licensed gambling. As mentioned in the intro to this article, for that we have legal casinos that are available. We also have legal pari-mutuel horse race betting due to the Racing (Totalizator Board) Act 1961. Lottery is legal here too which originally government owned has been private since 1985. You can learn about that at www.sportstoto.com.my.
The legal forms of gambling mentioned above are mostly designed to target Chinese (about 1/3 our population), other minorities, and tourists. Under Malaysian law all ethnic-Malays are required to be Sunni Muslim. They are therefore subject to Islamic Law which makes gambling a serious crime. For those not familiar with this take a look at Penang’s Syriah Criminal Offences Enactment of 1996.
The above link is a decent scan for anyone not familiar with Malaysian Law. Here you will find penalties for enticing a female person, abuses of halal sign, preventing a married couple from cohabiting, and all sorts of items not typically found in Common Law. Section 18 sets the penalty for Muslims caught gambling at a fine up to 3000 ringgit, or 2-years imprisonment, or both.
The above is only an example from one of Malaysia’s 13-states. However, each and every state has similar laws. Each state also has an Islamic Religious Affairs Department, whom among other agencies, enforce Islamic Sharia law. Even Muslim tourists are subject to these laws. There have been recent cases of Indonesian and Pakistani men arrested while on holiday for visiting casinos that are legal to about 40% of the population.
This article might misrepresent Kuala Lumpur. This is actually a very friendly city to live. However there are some strange situations here. Since 2000, all video games have been banned in the country. Today there are internet cafés with closed circuit televisions to watch for police raids while games are played inside. In 2010, Malaysian gaming group Berjaya (BGRO.KL) announced it was purchasing a 70% stake in Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd for 525 million ringgit. It was claimed Ascot had been issued a license to launch sports betting in Malaysia. Soon later there were protests and shortly after that the government denied any such license had ever existed.
This is all best explained as: in Malaysia we have many Muslims opposed to gambling. There are constant outcries and protests even over the legal forms of gambling we have already. It was said in a news article not too long ago that it seems every couple days the police are launching a new attack on Chinese gamblers. This explains it well from my perspective as daily something or another is being protested.
Online Gambling is Easier
The good news is it still possible to use overseas online gambling sites from the privacy of one’s own home without issue. For example www.bodog88.com is a post up betting site based in the Philippines that offers casino, sports betting, poker and Mahjong to Malaysia residents.
Players can deposit online or at the ATM using direct bank transfer. When they win, cash outs can be requested to the same method. The banks supported by Bodog Malaysia include Maybank, Public Bank, CIMB, RHB, Standard Chartered Bank, Hong Leong Bank, Affin Bank, EON Bank, Alliance Bank Malaysia, AmBank, Citibank, OCBC Bank, HSBC Bank, and United Overseas Bank.
In a country where the next gambling protests seem always around the corner, using gambling located in the Philippines from one’s own home is stress free and a much welcomed change.
Online betting is very popular in Malaysia, but rarely a month passes without the news showing details of a major internet gambling site. This is misleading because these reports near always involve unlicensed gambling. Smart punters bet without fear because we use bookmakers that are legal and licensed in foreign countries.
In South East Asia, Philippines is a location with legal gambling. An even safer jurisdiction is the United Kingdom (UK). They have had licensed retail bookmakers since 1961. As these websites are legal and licensed abroad, Malaysian police have no jurisdiction over them. Players who use these sites in the privacy of their own home are not of police interest. This is very easy to do and is the safest option for betting online. In this article I discuss this topic in detail.
UK websites do not accept VISA and MasterCard debit that are connected to Malaysian banks. It is still possible to use your card to deposit. Just set up a free United States dollar (USD) account at www.entropay.com. This gives you a free Virtual Visa Card number. You can then use your Malaysian ringgit (MYR) debit card to fund Entropay in USD for a 4.9% load fee. Once your EntroPay card is loaded, it can be used to deposit at any of the UK betting sites listed below.
Bet365 is obvious. Ladbrokes has Malaysia promotions, and sponsors sports events in Malaysia. BWIN sets Malaysians to $12 betting limit so hard to make much unless you play a lot.
A couple quick notes is the first time you fund EntroPay you might need to register with Verified by VISA or MasterCard Secure Code for your card to work. This is easy to do; just follow the instructions provided when making the load. The other issue is do not panic if EntroPay sends you a notice that your account has been temporarily restricted. This is simply a security check. They are licensed in the UK where gambling is legal. It is fine to send them your ID, funding source, and tell them the name of the betting site you are looking to fund.
If betting football and other sports is your interest, it is wise to open accounts at all the bookmakers I listed. This allows you to compare odds and bet at whichever bookmaker has the best price for the team or player you are looking to back. This said, www.bet365.com is the one MUST HAVE account. Astro, MiTV, FineTV and other Malaysian cable companies only cover so many spots matches. At Bet365 you can watch live-streams right from their website and even bet matches that are in-play.
For reason Bet365 is global you’ll find they cover more sports matches from around the world than any other site. All major and minor football leagues are available. You can also bet tennis, basketball, Formula 1, cricket, volleyball, badminton, ping-pong, darts, snooker and much more. They essentially have coverage of every league of ever country.
When it comes to Malaysian sports you can find these too. For football (soccer) this includes Liga Super Malaysia (Super League), Liga Perdana Malaysia (Premier League), Piala FA Malaysia (FA Cup) and Piala Malaysia (Malaysia Cup). As a basketball fan, their live in-play betting on Malaysia Dragons matches from ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) is one of my favorites. They also stream field hockey matches of our women’s team competing in World League. Tennis and badminton competitions held in Malaysia are also a plus.
The one thing to note is they do not offer Malay odds format the same as Asian bookies have. Here you’ll need to bet in decimal, US or UK odds. I have an article on how each odds format works.
When you join Bet365, before depositing ask them to change your account currency from Malaysian ringgit (MYR) to United States dollars (USD). Because your EntroPay account is in USD there is no point paying double exchange. Also, when using a USD account your first deposit is doubled. They offer a 100% up to $200 (US) initial deposit match as a sports betting bonus.
All of the gambling sites listed earlier in this article have online casino games. These are quite advanced and include games with actual dealers being broadcast from a dealing studio. These dealers deal the cards, spin the wheel and shake the dice live in real time. You are watching this on your computer while making bets online. It functions much the same as if you were sitting in a casino of Resorts World Genting or any other.
There are also online slots and traditional RNG games too. No matter if you’re into baccarat, blackjack, roulette, craps (dice), slots or some other game you can find it each of the casinos listed.
The same as sports betting and casino, all the websites listed in this article offer online poker. If you’re looking for the largest player volume and massive tournaments I suggest instead using www.PokerStars.com – they accept EntroPay too. However, the easiest to beat games are at www.bodog88.com. Most of the player base comes from China, Thailand, Korea, and Malaysia. Poker is not yet popular in any of those countries. As a result you will find many players who are new to poker and not very good. This makes the games on average much easier to beat.