Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Malaysia?

By in Sports & Betting on
6 Minute Read

Malaysia is one of the premier tourism destinations in Asia. It features exotic wildlife, highlands, the Batu Caves, beaches, clear ocean waters, and the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur.

If you’re interested in touring Asia, you might make Malaysia a priority thanks to its many offerings. Assuming you’re a sports gambler, you may also wonder if online sports betting is legal here.

The following guide discusses Malaysia’s gambling laws. It also provides specific information on Malaysian online sports betting and whether it’s ultimately legal and safe.

Malaysian Gambling Laws

Malaysia prohibits all types of gambling. It doesn’t allow casino gaming, sports betting, poker, lotteries, or any other type of wagers.

Its laws are airtight, too. The Betting Act and Common Gaming Houses Acts—both written in 1953—collectively cover this nation’s gaming and sports betting laws. Sharia Law, meanwhile, governs Islamic traditions in the country.

  • The Common Gaming Houses Act bans general types of gambling, such as casino games and poker. It also proposes a fine worth up to 5,000 ringgits (MYR) and up to six months in jail for those who run a “gaming house.”
  • The Betting Act outlaws any type of sports wagering in the country, whether live or by telecommunications. It proposes a penalty of up to 200,000 MYR and up to five years in prison for anybody who runs a “betting house.”

This act also notes that betting houses aren’t to take wagers “by any means.” The latter phrase could technically apply to online gambling.

As for Sharia Law, it holds plenty of sway in this country. This set of Islamic Laws heavily frowns upon any type of gambling.

The other thing that you need to understand is that laws do change from time to time. This can even be true in a country like Malaysia. This means that your best bet is to check with an attorney in the country that stays current on gambling and sports betting laws.

I’m not a legal expert, and it’s never a good idea to make legal decisions based on something that you read on the internet. Save yourself a great deal of possible pain and suffering by always checking with an expert that can give you legal advice. This is the best way to stay out of trouble as a sports gambler.

Why Is Gambling Illegal in Malaysia?

Approximately 61.5% of Malaysia is Muslim. Again, Sharia Law and Islam generally frown upon gambling.

Given that a healthy majority of people in this country are Muslim, it makes perfect sense why the gambling ban still stands today. Of course, nearly 40% of the country is non-Muslim. This crowd consists of Chinese, Indian, and other ethnicities.

Some of the non-Muslim populations may be perfectly fine with sports betting and other types of gambling. As for now, though, the demand for betting isn’t great enough to convince politicians that the laws need rewritten.

Online Sports Betting Is Still Popular in Malaysia

You might think that few people would bet on sports online in Malaysia considering the strict laws and culture. In reality, though, many people here like wagering at offshore betting sites.

Both citizens and tourists place wagers within Malaysia’s borders. They’re willing to float the laws to get some betting action.

With that said, you shouldn’t experience any trouble finding sports gambling action here. You just need to log on to an online sportsbook and look for lines and wagers.

Some of the most popular betting sites serve this country. Furthermore, you’ll find plenty of reputable bookmakers, large bonuses, and fair odds.

How Do Betting Sites Get Away With Operating Here?

Malaysia leaves no room for confusion: All forms of gambling are illegal in its borders. The Betting Act also includes a snippet about how betting houses shouldn’t accept wagers by any means.

Any company or entity that offers betting here—either through a land-based sportsbook or website—is breaking the law. However, numerous sports gambling sites provide their services to this country regardless.

Why!? Offshore bookmakers feel comfortable that nothing will happen when they offer wagers to Malaysians.

The federal government has never taken serious legal action against any offshore bookmakers. Instead, it has only blocked gambling-related URLs.

The Malaysian government is more concerned with making sure that nobody sets up shop on its soil. It has carried out some big raids against illegal gambling rings in its own country.

However, federal authorities are unlikely to chase mobile bookmakers that are operating halfway across the world. They’d need to expend considerable resources and time to carry out such an operation.

They would also need cooperation from the host nations of wherever the illegal betting sites operate from. The easiest course of action involves blocking URLs and discouraging unlawful bookmakers rather than mounting a time-consuming case against offshore operators.

Will You Get Arrested for Online Betting in Malaysia?

You can almost assuredly place mobile bets from Malaysia with no legal worry. Much like how the authorities don’t chase offshore sportsbooks, they also don’t waste time looking for online gamblers.

I’m not saying that there’s absolutely no chance of you being arrested. However, such a case would set a new precedent for a country that’s yet to bust anybody for betting online.

The only likely way that you’d be arrested for illegal gambling in this country is by visiting an underground casino or bookie. Malaysia has raided underground gambling dens and arrested everybody involved.

Like almost every other country, though, it doesn’t expend police resources on catching mobile gamblers. Therefore, you should be okay to place online bets here as a tourist or citizen.

Do Online Sportsbooks Accept Ringgits?

Some mobile sportsbooks do take Malaysian ringgits. In this case, you’ll at least be able to deposit with MYR.

You may even have the opportunity to place wagers in MYR at certain online sportsbooks. Bookmakers that put heavy emphasis on the Malaysian market will offer this option.

Assuming you choose a betting site that doesn’t take MYR, then you’ll have to make a currency conversion. For example, you might need to exchange MYR for USD before depositing.

Malaysia Features Unregulated Online Sports Gambling

The “Wild East” doesn’t have a regulated online betting market. After all, it doesn’t approve of any form of gambling. You won’t be able to enjoy local licensed online bookmakers here. Instead, you’ll be dealing with offshore operators.

These offshore betting sites don’t necessarily have to draw red flags immediately. However, you should proceed with caution when considering any online sportsbook.

After all, the Malaysian government isn’t there to protect you as a regulated market would do. If you get ripped off, then you’ll have little to no recourse.

Always Research Malaysian Betting Sites Before Depositing

Malaysia may not have licensed mobile sportsbooks. But this doesn’t mean that you have to settle for a second-rate bookmaker. You simply need to do research in order to choose a quality bookmaker. The best place to begin this research is through reviews.

Betting site reviews cover important points regarding online sportsbooks, such as markets, bonuses, odds, customer service, and banking options. Many of them also discuss a bookmaker’s reputation for treating customers well and making timely payouts.

Assuming you narrow down the list of potential sportsbooks, you can begin visiting one or more yourself. You might consider contacting customer support to see how friendly or rude they are.

Customer service is a telltale sign of how the overall operation is run. You can place more confidence in a betting site when you have good experiences with support.


Malaysia is one of the staunchest countries when it comes to gambling. It prohibits every type of gambling from casino games to sports betting.

However, it doesn’t take any action against online gamblers. As a result, you can get away with placing mobile wagers here.

You can bet on anything that offshore bookmakers are offering to Malaysia. Therefore, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. You also don’t really need to fear getting arrested when placing online bets here. The authorities haven’t shown any inclination to tracking and busting mobile bettors.

If you have any concerns, you can always contact a local legal professional. Good luck with your gambling!

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for since early 2016. ...

View all posts by Michael Stevens
Email the author at: [email protected]