Malaysian people are at a crossroads. Religion-wise, gambling is frowned upon under the Sharia Law. Culturally, gambling has been a big part of their traditions, especially for the Chinese population. For the longest time, betting has been a social activity for communities, as well as a source of money and excitement.
That’s why the Sports Betting Community in Malaysia is getting bigger now more than ever! This is despite all the restrictions that the Malaysian government has been imposing on its people.
Gambling in Malaysia
Malaysia is well-known in the gambling industry for its restrictive laws on betting and gambling. The Betting act of 1953 states that those caught operating a betting house or playing inside it will receive a penalty of up to 200,000 ringgits and 5 years in jail. The law also stipulates that Muslims, constituting 60% of the population, are strictly forbidden from engaging in any form of gambling in accordance with Sharia Law.
What is Considered ‘Legal Gambling’ in Malaysia?
Nevertheless, there exist other forms of gambling that are regarded as legal. For example, land-based casino Genting Highlands or Resorts World Genting is legal, as well as pari-mutuel horse race betting and of course, lotto or lottery.
But how about sports betting?
Is Sports Betting Legal in Malaysia?
Sports is a very big thing in Malaysia, so it’s no secret why sports betting is also one of the biggest forms of gambling in the country
But is it legal?
But that doesn’t stop Malaysians from gambling on their favorite sports, players and teams during the most important leagues of the season.
Although the country has been most successful in Badminton (thanks to the likes of badminton legends such as Lee Chong Wei) most keep their eyes on football. One of the major gambling events for the sports betting community in Malaysia is the domestic Super League, Formula One Grand Prix, and the Motorcycle Grand Prix World Championship. The last two are both major motorsports events.
Other sports like netball, golf and hockey are also big on sports betting!
The Sports Betting Community in Malaysia
The sports betting community in Malaysia is huge! Many try their luck betting on their favorites, whether it’s to try their shot at winning big money, or simply as a social activity between friends.
Most notable members of the sports betting community in Malaysia are the Chinese-Malaysians. For thousands of years, gambling has been part of the social fabric of Chinese societies. Perceived positively, betting was regarded as a wholesome habit.
Mahjong has been around since 10 CE (after common era), and some believe that it’s a healthy brain exercise. They have also been betting on Horse Racing, which is culturally acceptable as long as the wagering amount is “reasonable”, and the players are “socially acceptable”.
“A little gambling is soothing and relaxing; heavy gambling could affect your health.” – A Chinese Proverb
Lotteries or Lotto are also popular in Hong Kong and even Vietnam. It is asserted that it is harmless as only a small amount of money is utilized for placing bets.
Traditionally, Chinese migrants in Malaysia have used gambling as a good source of opportunity to meet new people, make friends and to enjoyment.
A similar observation applies to Indian-Malaysians.
Gambling in India has a very long history. In fact, their historical records don’t even differentiate game playing from gambling. The most common form of gambling in India, however, was playing with dice.
Mahabharat even records the first evidence of gambling in India. In the story, Yudhishira lost all of his fortunes from playing a dice game.
But other forms of gambling in India include bullfighting, cockfights, and goat fights. Amazingly, they even have a similar gambling tradition as Taiping’s in Malaysia, where people bet on when it will rain and how much! This culture of rain betting was very popular in Calcutta.
Just like in Taiping, it eventually underwent a transformation and was considered illegal. Again, similar to Taiping, its locals continued to play it albeit more discreetly to hide from government enforcers.
Sports Betting is also popular among Indians. It has gained prevalence within urban areas, and those who have immigrated to Malaysia have even introduced it. Why sports betting in particular? It’s because Indian-Malaysians have found that they have better chances of winning consistently over a period of time.
Still, sports betting is illegal in both countries. So where does that take our sports betting communities?
The Online Sports Betting Community in Malaysia
Sports betting eventually finds a new home: online. Though Malaysia’s laws on anti-betting is clear for land-based betting houses, it’s not so clear on online gambling. That’s why sports betting finds its refuge in online sportsbooks and casinos.
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