While the Islamic majority of the population is forbidden from gambling, online casinos are still legal for non-Muslims.
Malaysia doesn’t welcome online casino operators, but that doesn’t mean that players living in the country can’t enjoy a good game of virtual roulette or poker from the comfort of their own homes. Internet gambling is actually allowed for some of the local residents.
There is a way to access virtual casinos or play online poker in Malaysia, but gamblers first have to meet a few conditions, in order for it to be legal. Unless you want to risk being charged with illegal gambling and fined or even sent to prison, it’s best to take things step by step and see what the country’s laws have to say about gambling.
The dominant religion in the country is Islam, but unlike other Muslim states, Malaysia has embraced gambling. Granted, there is only one legal brick-and-mortar casino in the country, but the venue is open to local players and visitors alike. The resort is owned by Genting and offers everything from gambling to theme parks, golf, concerts and shows.
Apart from casino games, Malaysia also offers legal pari-mutuel betting on horse racing and lottery tickets. There are three lottery companies in the state and they offer multiple draws. Local players can also access online casinos, but the state does not have a legal framework for internet gambling.
Legal online casinos in Malaysia
The local gambling authority does not hand out licenses for online operators, so companies aren’t allowed to run virtual casinos from within the country borders. However, this does not mean that there are no online casinos in Malaysia at all.
There are plenty of foreign-based companies who offer their services to players worldwide, including to those living in Malaysia. These websites operate under offshore licenses issued by countries with well-regulated gambling markets and as long as they don’t have their offices or servers in the country, they’re in compliance with Malaysian gambling laws.
Many well-known and trusted brands are licensed in Malta, Alderney, Costa Rica, Isle of Man, Gibraltar or other countries and regions offering offshore gambling licenses. Whether you’re looking for online sports books, bingo sites, virtual casinos or online lottery services, these operators offer countless options for players around the world.
Gamblers can find several such sites operating in all Asian languages and currencies. Some of them even accept Malaysian ringgit as currency and deposits can be made via local bank accounts.
Malaysian gambling laws
Several online casinos in Malaysia are legal for non-Muslim players and even accept the country’s currency:
• Pinnacle Sports
The state’s Betting Act was first created in 1953, before the country became independent from the UK. Since then, Malaysian gambling laws have been amended several times. These regulations only apply to non-Muslim citizens, though, as those living by the Islamic religion are forbidden from gambling.
More than 60% of Malaysia’s population is Islamic and Article 160 of the country’s Constitution even requires that all ethnic Malays be Muslim. The Betting Act doesn’t apply to them. Instead, they have to obey the Syariah Criminal Offences Act of 1997, which includes the penalties for all sorts of crimes, including insulting the religion of Islam, wrongful worship and disrespect for Ramadhan.
Games of skill are also considered gambling if there is money involved and the law says: “Any person who gambles, or is found in a gaming house, shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding three thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both.”
In short, the majority of Malaysia’s population is forbidden from gambling but even for non-Muslim players, it is very important to avoid illegal websites. Accessing them is considered an offense under the state’s Betting Act and is punishable either by up to six months in prison, a fine of up to RM 3000, or both.
In conclusion, if you were wondering whether you can play online casinos in Malaysia, the answer is yes! Of course you can access virtual casinos, but only if your religion allows it. And if you’re a tourist visiting this exotic country, you’re free to play at the Genting casino or log on to your Pokerstars account for a short game of poker. Enjoy!