How illegal is online casinos and betting sites in Malaysia

In every sports event, there’s a hidden, and considerably illegal activity that is quite common for hardcore gamblers. Sportsbook, or online betting, exists to provide sports fans around the world a stronger sense of thrill when they have their money on the line.

Malaysia is a Muslim country as majority of the citizens consist of Malays followed by Chinese, Indians and other minorities respectively. Despite being primarily a Muslim country, Malaysia is known famously for it’s mixed culture which enhances cultural knowledge and allow it’s citizens to be more tolerant towards other religions when there’s a religious holiday. When it comes to gambling however, the Malaysian law has two laws that will hand out punishments depending on the race. First, you have the Betting Act 1953 which the offenders will be subjected to a RM 5,000 fine, six months imprisonment or both towards Chinese, Indians and other minorities. Then, you have the Sharia law which applies to Malay offenders who will be subjected to a RM 3,000 fine, two years of imprisonment or both. This is due to Malaysia enforcing strict laws towards the Malays to abide by the Quran which states that they shall not drink alcohol and participate in any gambling activities as they will impact their personal life and their relationships. This is further proven by the government blocking online casinos and online betting sites in Malaysia.

Despite that, there was a recent article in 2020 when the CEO and chairman of PAGCOR, Andrea Domingo, contacted Malaysia’s government regarding a proposition that Malaysia will offer a ten-year tax tax moratorium if 30 percent of their employees are Malays. Despite various efforts to shut down illegal gambling sites, more gambling sites pop into police’s radar, proving shutting down all of these gambling sites difficult. Additionally, the various anti-gambling laws are not applicable if the offenders are gambling in online casinos and betting sites that are hosted overseas. With the advancement of technology, they are also able to develop mobile applications that support iOS and Android smartphones and further encourages gamblers to invest into online gambling and bettings. Offenders who participate in illegal gambling are subjected to the Common Gaming House Act which fines individuals RM 5,000, six months of imprisonment while operators will be subjected to a RM 50,000, three years of imprisonment or both. Although they look high, the fines could be easily paid off when the operators are able to accumulate more money than the fines.

With the state of Malaysia’s anti-gambling laws’ punishments being so light, it is no wonder that many people do not learn their lessons as the offenders could easily pay off their fines. Since the laws were made almost 50 years ago, these laws are required to be revised and adapted with the advancement of technologies as more of these online gambling and betting sites are now developing applications to help their invested gamblers to use their platform with ease. 

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