Are Gambling Legal in Malaysia?

Are Gambling Legal in Malaysia gambling legal in Malaysia? It is legal in many countries across Asia including Malaysia. In Malaysia as in many countries the law against gambling has not been tightened, although there have been attempts to curb some of the more dangerous aspects of the gambling business. 

That said one area where the law against gambling in Malaysia is weakest is in the regulation of online gambling.

are gambling legal in Malaysia

Many areas in Malaysia are relatively liberal in their attitude to online betting but there are some communities in the country that are opposed to it and work very hard to enforce local legislation against it. 

Are Gambling Legal in Malaysia? Although internet gambling is legal in Malaysia it is not widely used or accepted by the community in any way. For example in Penang most residents do not gamble online, even though the state capital Kuala Lumpur is home to some of the best online betting outlets in the country. 

In fact it was only in 2021 that a major online betting portal was permitted to operate in Penang. Even then the authorities had to negotiate with the owners in order to lift restrictions on the website.

What is Gambling?

what is gambling

Gambling is the act of risking something with an uncertain objective in mind with the intention of winning some something of equal value. Gambling therefore requires three components to be existent: risk, consideration, and a wager. Without these three elements, then what is gambling is not gambling.

In the realm of gambling, there are many avenues of earning money by way of gambling losses. Gambling income is referred to as "gambling revenue". It is comprised of the following three categories: winnings, wagers, and bonuses. There are also some types of gamblers who get more than their winnings. These are the gamblers with excessively high winnings or high rollers.

Gambling Act Malaysia

The Gambling Act is one of the two primary pieces of legislation in Malaysia that punishes those involved in the country's legal system for conduct related to gambling, lottery, horse racing, cockfighting, and others. 

Article 3 of the law states that, "A person who contravenes or fails to comply with a law of a Federation or State may be punished with a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or a year not exceeding five years or both." 

Individuals found guilty of these types of crimes can face jail time, monetary damages, or both. However, in Malaysia, all law violations are considered part of the general offences code.
Gambling Act Malaysia
The most well-known law related to gambling in Malaysia is the Special Measures Ordinance that regulates and prohibits gambling and lottery activities in the country. The Special Measures Ordinance contains detailed regulations and restrictions on all lottery and gaming activities in Malaysia including state administered Lottery Projects within five percent of the gross domestic product or the value of the transaction, including the expenditure of public money. 

The gambling law in Malaysia covers both land-based and offshore gambling; the latter being more regulated by the law than the former. The Special Measures Ordinance also includes a number of financial penalties for fraudulent lottery applications and offers. 

These include interest and penalties on interest payments on loans extended for lottery and gaming purposes and lottery winnings, penalties for lottery results, reporting requirements on lottery wins and repayment arrangements, penalty on the transfer of gambling winnings, and establishment of new lotteries.

With regard to offline gambling in Malaysia, the following three types of gambling law in Malaysia are in force:

The Special Measures Law

The Special Measures Law provides the general principles on which gambling is based and prescribes the forms and amounts of bonuses, prizes and fees that are available to be won.

The Prevention of Corruption Act

The Prevention of Corruption Act prohibits the public from forming any company that would engage in any type of gambling, and bars officials from acting in a prejudiced manner.

The Gambling (Special Measures) Act

The Gambling (Special Measures) Act empowers the Malaysian Bar Association to regulate the operation of lottery and gaming institutions and makes it compulsory for any lottery game organizer to register with the Bar.


Are Gambling Legal in Malaysia? As in many other countries around the world, gambling in Malaysia is both legal and illegal. Although it is legal in the States, in Malaysia it is against the law to operate a gambling establishment. Although there are some exemptions, gambling is strictly illegal and considered immoral. 

Any attempts to encourage gambling are punishable with prison sentences and stiff fines. Despite these stiff penalties and repercussions, gambling is widespread in Malaysia, with nearly all Malaysian citizens who are of legal age enjoying the benefits of this thriving business.

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