A Brief History Of Betting In Malaysia

A Brief History Of Betting In Malaysia

May 1, 2017

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Malaysia has quite a strange set of laws relating to gambling. More than half the population is banned from gambling. This is because of Sharia Law, a form of law that only applies to muslim citizens in Malaysia. But there are resorts and legal forms of gambling for non-muslims in the country. However, with online gambling on the rise, it’s not impossible for muslims to gamble if they want to, despite the religious rulings of the country forbidding it.


Betting Act of 1953

The major cornerstone of betting laws in Malaysia is the Betting Act of 1953. It’s an act that is still in usage today, but it has been amended a number of times over the years. In this act, there is a distinction drawn between illegal gambling and legal gambling. So, gambling is permitted by companies with a license, there is legal horse racing and the lottery. But those running illegal gambling operations can be punished by the law. The part of the law that is most important for gamblers is the part that says unlawful gambling can only be punished by a maximum 6 month prison sentence.


Application of Sharia Law

The Betting Act of 1953 is something that only really applies to the ethnic Chinese part of the population, other minorities and those visiting Malaysia as tourists. For about 60% of the population, gambling of any kind is forbidden, even the legal types mentioned above. This is because Sharia Law applies to the entire muslim population of Malaysia. If the laws relating to gambling are broken, there can be a sentence of up to two years in prison, so it’s considered quite a serious offense under Sharia Law.


Popular Types of Betting

Football is one of the most popular sports in Malaysia, and this is the sport that attracts gamblers most. Online football betting is rising in popularity, with people placing bets on domestic league games and games taking place in the major European leagues. The only physical casino that is legal in Malaysia is Genting Highlands Resort. It’s a mountain resort that attracts many gamblers from around the country, as well as tourists from around the world. Baccarat and other card and table games are played at the casino resort.


What Does the Future Hold for Betting in Malaysia?

It’s not clear which direction Malaysia’s legal system will go in next. There is a strange two-tier system currently in place, meaning there is one rule for muslims and another for non-muslims. There are even separate courts for the two different laws. There are many people arguing that there should be one law for everyone, but making that happen won’t be easy. So, what does this mean for gambling? The country has a thriving industry, and that’s not going to go away. It’s very popular with tourists and the half of the population that can gamble legally. Whether this extends to the other half of the population remains to be seen. But the ease and freedom of illicit online gambling suggest the country could be heading that way.

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