Thirteen states and 3 federal territories make up Malaysia, a constitutional monarchy in south east Asia. While the country is prized for the diversity of its tropical habitats and the number of species that inhabit these, gamblers will have more pressing concerns to focus on. Like, for example, whether they can participate in their preferred means of gaming while in Malaysia, be it roulette, slots or poker. Malaysia, after all, is a Muslim country, and where there are Muslims there usually aren’t a whole lot of casinos – the teachings of the koran put paid to that.
Roulette Gambling in Malaysia
The law in Malaysia effectively operates on two levels: there’s the basic law that applies to all citizens of the country, prohibiting them from gambling. And then there’s the law that enables tourists to gamble because, at least when it comes to betting, they’re not subject to the laws governing the rest of the populace. If you’d like to play roulette or similar casino games, then, you can, but you may need to travel within the country to do so.
The main location where the country’s gaming premises can be found is at Resorts World Genting, a one-hour train journey from the capital Kuala Lumpur. While the majority of the population are prohibited from playing here, tourists and certain segments of the country’s permanent residents are allowed to do so, frequenting the likes of Hollywood Casino, StarWorld Casino and Monte Carlo Casino, all of which are housed here.
If you’re entitled to play at these casinos, you’ll find them to be packed with all the games that are an integral part of the quintessential casino experience, from roulette to blackjack.
The Law in Malaysia Regarding Gambling
The primary statute concerning gambling in Malaysia is the Betting Act 1953, which has since been updated over the years to reflect changes in policy and developments in gambling methods. While the law primarily targets operators of gambling premises and lays down strict penalties for those who flout it, players are also subject to the Betting Act, even if the punishment they face is less severe.
In Malaysia, unlawful gambling can result in a fine of up to 5,000 ringgit, which works out at just over US $1,000, and up to 6 months in prison. In practice, individuals found to have been involved in gambling in the country are not going to be hammered to the full extent of the law; only operators of illegal gambling facilities have something to fear.
Citizens of Malaysia, including Chinese and ethnic Malaysians, are deemed to be Sunni Muslim and are thus subject to sharia law. Based on the teachings of the koran, this decrees that any Muslim found to have been gambling could face up to 2 years in jail or a fine of up to 3,000 ringgit. Once again though, it is unlikely that the law will be deployed to its maximum extent. Nevertheless, Malaysian Muslims wouldn’t want to be caught gambling.
Legal Gambling in Malaysia
While most forms of gambling are illegal in Malaysia are illegal, there are exceptions. Firstly, there are the legal and licensed casinos that exist, even if not all of the population are entitled to play here. Then there is horse racing; betting on races is permitted under the 1961 Racing Totalizator Act. Finally, there is a popular national lottery in the country, which was operated by the government before being privatised in the 80s.
Like any country comprised of multi-ethnic groups and various nationalities, it’s hard to state Malaysia’s attitude to gambling as there is no definitive answer to provide. While some segments of the country – primarily devout Muslims – undoubtedly oppose it, many of the country’s citizens are more moderate in their approach.
Indeed, sports betting and other types of gambling regularly take place, especially in the capital Kuala Lumpur, in bars and other venues but behind closed doors. The country’s Chinese in particular are partial to gambling, and aren’t afraid to indulge it, despite the occasional raid designed to shut these illicit operations down.
Playing Roulette Online in Malaysia
If you’re eager to play roulette in Malaysia and can’t make it to one of the country’s licensed casinos, a simpler option is to play online, as many Malaysians – both non-Muslim and Muslim – do.
South east Asia certainly isn’t short of online betting sites and casinos, and many of them scoop up their share of Malaysian-based players. Some of the savvier Malaysians will sign up for such casinos, registering their home country as being the neighbouring Philippines, where gambling is permitted.
Playing online roulette, slots and suchlike is as simple as navigating to any online casino where Malaysian IP addresses aren’t banned and creating an account. If you’re successful in signing up, you shouldn’t encounter any difficulties when it comes to depositing funds into your account; all the usual methods should be available, regardless of the fact that you’re playing from Malaysia.
Likewise when cashing out; it should even be possible to deposit funds into a Malaysian bank account, though you may elect to use an alternative payment method that’s more discreet, just to be on the safe side.
The Future of Gambling in Malaysia
At present, it’s easy to gamble in Malaysia, despite what the law may say. Even if you’re part of the estimated 60% of the population who are deemed to be Sunni Muslims, and thus ineligible to enter the country’s casinos, it’s easy to play online. Compared to other Muslim nations, then, Malaysia can be considered as moderate.
While the penalties for gambling, including imprisonment and a fine, should not be overlooked, these will only be applied in the most extreme cases. If you’re just playing casually, you should have nothing to fear. What’s more, if you’re a visitor to the south east Asian country, you can use your foreign passport to gain admittance to the licensed casinos that exist there.
As far as the future goes, it’s possible that Malaysia may similarly relax its online gambling laws, at least for the benefit of tourists and non-Muslims within the country. Many Asian countries, including Singapore, are in the process of doing similar, having realised the sums to be made from enabling gambling, not least in marketing themselves to tourists seeking to play roulette and poker in large, luxurious casinos. Don’t be surprised if Kuala Lumpur follows suit in due course, despite grumbles of protest in the country from those elements that are bitterly opposed to gambling.
In the meantime, take comfort from the knowledge that you can, to all intents and purposes, gamble online within Malaysia without facing the consequences. Whether you sign up at a Philippines-based casino or elect for a site based further afield, such as in the UK, you’ll be able to have a flutter, have some fun and savour the thrills that are commensurate with online gambling in all its forms.
Is gambling legal in Malaysia?
Sort of. Certain forms of gambling are legal if you’re a visitor or a non-Muslim who isn’t subject to sharia law.
Where can I gamble in Malaysia?
There are a number of licensed casinos in the country, situated an hour outside the capital. Foreign passport holders can play here.
What about online gambling?
While technically illegal, it’s easy to gamble online within Malaysia, even though the country doesn’t have any licensed online casinos.
Where can I gamble online in Malaysia?
Philippines-based casinos are popular, but you can play at any online casino that will accept you.