If you want to visit another country where you can gamble legally, consider going to Malaysia. This Asian country is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, along with Singapore, China, India, Thailand, and Malaysia. Gambling is legalized in Malaysia since the Legal Bill of 1953, which received a few amendments over the years, the latest one in 2021. According to this law, anyone who gets caught conducting unlicensed gambling can be faced with a penalty, jail time, or both. Online gambling is illegal for all in the country, although, and people who provide such services within the country face serious repercussions.
In practice, authorities in Malaysia do not interfere with a player’s right to gamble online. The government does, however, take action against persons who operate unlicensed gambling facilities and accept payments from players. There have been no reports of online gambling being conducted through iPhones or Blackberries, but authorities in Malaysia have reportedly seized a number of gambling devices including an iPhone and a BlackBerry. Authorities also report that they have found and deleted several IM communications that were sent from players to gambling sites.
There is no law in Malaysia that authorizes online gambling. Gambling is strictly prohibited by law and people who promote gambling activity through the Internet face serious charges. A number of organizations have been established to represent and encourage online gamblers, some of which are locally based. Many of these organizations accept players from other countries and help them find local gamblers willing to accept their wagers.
Most of the online gambling takes place in Asia’s largest city, Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital of Malaysia and one of the most populated cities in all of Southeast Asia. Many gambling websites set up shop in or near the city and operate their operations from there. Some have been prosecuted for operating unlicensed gambling establishments, however, and the laws surrounding these operations are very different from those that apply in the country’s capital city.
Not all casinos are located in or near Kuala Lumpur, however. Several casinos are based in countries other than Malaysia. An example of this is an online bingo hall in Manila, Philippines, which was shut down last year following complaints from the Philippine government. The government ordered the closing of the bingo hall because it did not have proper licensing to operate as an online bingo hall and did not have the licenses to accept players from the Philippines or anywhere else in the world.
Not all websites that offer free online gambling are prosecuted for operating unlicensed gambling establishments. Some are prosecuted simply for not being honest about what they offer. A high profile poker room in Malaysia, the Paradise Poker, was closed down after an article in the local publication The Star reported that the website had offered poker bonuses to players that would not have been eligible to receive them had the site not been shut down. Another example is a website called Bigfish that was closed down in January of this year following a criminal investigation by the Malaysian police. Operators of the site had failed to report suspicious transactions in the gaming house and did not allow the police to inspect its bank accounts or other information. The operator of the site was later fined a record $6 million for failing to stop playing while under investigation.
Some operators of online gambling venues also engage in money laundering schemes in order to conceal the true nature of what they are offering. Money laundering is a crime in many countries and can carry up to ten years in prison. While the law does not specifically define money laundering, operators who engage in it may be prosecuted. The lack of strict controls over the online gambling industry makes many operators more vulnerable to money laundering schemes. For this reason, it is vitally important that operators take all reasonable steps to ensure that their sites do not involve any money laundering or other illegal actions.
Some efforts have been made by authorities in Malaysia to address this issue on a national level. A task force was established in 2021 to monitor and implement anti-money laundering rules on the Internet. The authorities also attempted to tighten laws regarding gambling, particularly the Act on Gambling Control which makes it a crime to operate a gambling establishment that accepts deposits in excess of the deposit or credit limits. Recently, a law was introduced that allows only a licensed casino gambling operator to operate on the online gambling platforms in Malaysia.