Like in many other Asian countries, betting is quite popular in Malaysia. The only difference is that the laws of betting in this country are somewhat stringent. However, Malaysia is home to world-class casino brands such as Monte Carlo, StarWorld Casino, and Hollywood Casino. In this guide, we’ll explore betting in Malaysia. Some of the aspects of gambling that we will cover include its legality as well as the best betting operators.
History and evolution of gambling in Malaysia
Betting in Malaysia has come a long way. As of today, half the population can engage in gambling activities. Muslim citizens form the other half of the population, as their law doesn’t allow them to bet. With the rise of online gambling, Muslims can also gamble online if they wish. The good news is that there are various legal forms of betting in Malaysia. All non-Muslims can rely on these types of gambling.
Is betting legal in Malaysia?
Technically, most forms of betting are illegal in Malaysia. The government doesn’t issue licenses to regular gambling houses. Regardless of that, most gamblers can still enjoy their favourite betting activities online without getting into legal problems. Moreover, other forms of betting such as running lotteries as well as horse race betting is legal.
General gambling law in Malaysia
Over the years, the legislators in the Malaysian government have introduced various laws to govern the betting industry. In this section, we demystify the legal landscape surrounding gambling in Malaysia.
The Betting Act of 1953
The Betting Act of 1953 is the dominant law that regulates betting in Malaysia. It has been amended several times in 1958, 1959, 1961, 1981, 1992 and 2006. As of today, it is a comprehensive act that’s close to 20 pages.
The highlight of this act is that it forbids unlawful gambling within the borders of Malaysia. Law enforcement agencies are allowed to imprison or fine any individual that engages in this kind of betting.
The set fine for breaking this law can amount up to five thousand Ringgit. Violators may get both a jail term of not more than 6 months and the fine as well. Promoting, running, or operating a gambling business illegally can land you in bigger legal problems. The perpetrators who break the betting law in this manner are likely to attract heftier fines and a longer jail term.
The Betting Act of 1953 states that these penalties do not apply to the few licensed and approved gambling businesses. This explains why we have several legal casinos in Malaysia.
The Common Gaming Houses Act of 1953
The Betting Act of 1953 focuses on bookmarking and sports betting. But these are not the only forms of betting. The other types of gambling are under the Common Gaming Houses Act of 1953.
This Act is more direct in terms of individuals who are caught in betting houses and those who operate them illegally. It defines gambling as participating in any game of chance.
In regards to betting houses, this act refers to all the places where gambling activities are offered, including websites.
In the Malaysian constitution, Islam is mandatory for all citizens. More so, Muslims make up about 60% of the entire population. The others who include ethnic Indians and Chinese aren’t expected to abide by the Sharia law, but the country recognizes the Sharia courts. Nonetheless, both this court and the secular court operate side-by-side.
The dual legal system is tremendously complex in terms of implementing various laws. Each system tends to contradict the other in matters of gambling. Even though the Sharia law is mostly applied to family matters, states can choose to use it in other legal affairs. The bottom line is that betting is outlawed for 60% of Malays.
Popular markets in Malaysia
Betting on horse races in the racecourses is legal and popular in Malaysia, but sports betting surpasses it. The difference is that the latter is illegal. With so many offshore gambling operators, Malays who can’t resist wagering on football matches still do so.
Statistics show that most betting enthusiasts in Malaysia stake on football. These include international and domestic football leagues. Additionally, Toto, which is a 4D lottery operator is a well sought-after gambling activity. There are about 700 Toto lottery ticket outlets across the country.
Malaysian betting odds format
Betting odds in Malaysia are offered in decimal form, either negative or positive. They use 0 as the base. The negative numbers represent the underdogs, while the positive represents the favourites. Foreign bookmakers who are dedicated to serving the Malaysian market use this odds format.
Online betting in Malaysia
Online betting in Malaysia is prohibited. Nevertheless, gamblers can still enjoy betting on their favourite casino games and sports on overseas betting websites. Moreover, there are a few local gambling resorts that offer limited betting on sports. But for an avid gambler, betting online is the most convenient way of gambling.
Choosing the right betting site in Malaysia
When it comes to online betting sites, Malaysian bettors are spoilt for choice. However, you need to consider a few things when choosing a suitable betting site. Some of the aspects that you should consider;
The reputation of the betting site
The image of a betting site is everything. Before you register with any overseas betting operator, carry out some research. Read reviews to see what other users think about a particular gambling website. If you encounter lots of negative feedback from unhappy punters, do not sign up with the site in question. Only settle on a site with good reviews from happy customers.
Bonuses and promotions
Take a look at the bonuses and promotions offered by different betting sites. A provider with generous bonuses presents a more desirable gambling opportunity.
Deposit and withdrawal options
An ideal site should provide safe, convenient, and reliable payment options. These are the likes of bank transfers, credit cards, Skrill, and Neteller.
An excellent betting site should accept the currency you intend to use. In this case, a betting platform that allows you to bet using the Malaysian Ringgit will save you from currency conversion charges.
Variety of casino games and sports
If you prefer to bet on sports, you want to choose an operator that offers a wide array of sports markets. Finding one will ensure that you are not missing out on great betting opportunities from your favourite leagues,
Best betting sites in Malaysia
There are plenty of overseas betting sites, including world-class bookmakers, that take on Malaysian punters. Here are some of the best online casinos in Malaysia.
Our best picks
1XBet is one of the leading betting sites in Malaysia. The site has been operational for about a decade. And it has a wide range of sports markets as well as horse racing. It accepts the Malaysian ringgit and provides competitive odds. And apart from its exceptional reputation, 1xBet rolls out various promotions and bonuses regularly.
As a Malaysian player, you can install the 1xBet mobile app on your phone and bet while on the go.
The people behind 22Bet are passionate about all forms of betting. The site covers a wide selection of sports betting markets and horse race meetings. It is one of the safest operators in Malaysia as it is licensed and regulated by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. Its customers are not only well-protected, but they are also guaranteed a transparent and fair betting environment.
More betting sites that you can consider
Having been operational since 2000, Bet365 is one of the longest-serving online casinos. And with technological advancement in the betting industry, this site has truly evolved.
Apart from accessing it on a PC, bettors can now bet on their favourite games and sports through their mobile phones. As for Malays, you get a lot of flexible banking methods. These range from Neteller, PayPal, Skrill, and bank transfers.
Signing up for a Bet365 account is straightforward, and takes less than 5 minutes.
888sport is undoubtedly one of the largest online casinos across the globe. It gladly welcomes Malaysian punters. In regards to sports coverage, the site offers a massive collection of sports. Football lovers can bet on the big leagues all over the world.
Bettors can also expect bountiful promotions and bonuses for sports and casino games. Its customer service is phenomenal and you can reach out to the agents through a live chat, telephone call, and email.
Betway is a household name in the global online betting industry. This firm has earned an excellent reputation over the years due to its stellar services. Malaysian players who choose Betway are in for an incredible betting experience. On this site, you will find plenty of sports and casino games. In short, it has something for everyone.
Bodog is a respected online casino in the Asian market. It is no surprise that it ranks among the most revered betting operators in Malaysia.
This site has over 25 types of sports that punters can bet on. The categories include football, basketball, cricket, and so on.
Casino enthusiasts can also find the most popular casino games at Bodog. With over 400 casino games, you can try your luck on any game that you desire.
Depositing and withdrawing gateways in Malaysia
Since online betting in Malaysia is illegal, there aren’t many payment methods. This doesn’t mean that you can’t deposit or withdraw money from a betting website. However, you have to contend with limited options. In this section, we have provided a list if the payment gateways available for punters in Malaysia.
Skrill is a betting friendly e-wallet that you can use to fund your betting account. The best thing about Skrill is that it is reliable and easy to use. Also, most offshore betting websites accept it as a mode of payment.
Neteller is another safe and convenient e-wallet. It is also widely accepted by a myriad of betting operators. Most of the bookmakers that we have recommended accept payments made through Neteller.
Almost all betting websites readily accept credit cards such as MasterCard and Visa Cards. Whether you can use your card to fund or withdraw money from your betting site depends on the company. Visa Electron, Maestro and Visa are categorized as debit card solutions. This means that as you transact, your money will not attract any interest charges.
Entropay is a unique payment solution that bettors can rely on for deposits and withdrawals. It comes in the form of a virtual card.
When you pay with this card, the betting operator does not see your financial information. Additionally, your card statement lists the transaction as “Entropay.” It will not show that you have sent money to a gambling website.
Loading your Entropay virtual card is a straightforward process. You can fund it through a bank transfer or credit card. And after you withdraw your winnings from a betting operator, you can access the money through an ATM card.
Bank Wire Transfers
A majority of online betting providers accept bank wire transfers. What you need to know is that this is not an instant service. It may take up to three days before the funds reflect in your betting account. However, this method is ideal for high rollers because higher limits are acceptable. Unfortunately, you may get into trouble with your bank for sending betting money.
The future of betting in Malaysia
With a dual legal system in force, the future of gambling in Malaysia is still somewhat unclear. The Sharia system will probably never permit betting for Muslim citizens. However, there is much leeway for non-Muslims in Malaysia. And it is likely to get even better.
The ongoing debate on gambling revolves around whether it should be governed by a secular viewpoint or the Sharia law. Hopefully, there will be multiple friendly regulations soon.
We can’t argue with the fact that Malaysia has strict laws on all forms of gambling. Nonetheless, half of the Malaysian population can participate in various forms of betting. The good part is that you don’t need a betting house to bet on your favourite sport or casino game. You can sign up with world-class online casinos and bet right from the comfort of your device. And you will hardly get into any legal problems.