Slot machines and gambling, in general, was considered an illegal activity at some point in time. But now, it is one of the economic sectors with the highest revenue. It is considered one of the biggest legal-moneymaker in the world. In fact, statistics say that the gambling industry has made over $400 billion in profits in 2019! Malaysia is currently one of the few Asian countries that are rising higher and higher in the gambling industry, specifically in slots. So, the question of whether it is legal to own a slot machine license in Malaysia may arise in many people’s minds. In this article, we will take a look into Malaysia’s regulations of the gambling industry.
Malaysia’s outlook on gambling
Gambling has become a popular and legal activity in many countries all over the world. So what is Malaysia’s opinion about this? In fact, Malaysia has a unique system when it comes to regulating its ever-expanding gambling industry, mainly due to the fact that its population has both Muslims and non-Muslims.
Gambling, in general, is considered illegal in Malaysia, like many other countries that are dominated by a Muslim population. Since slot machines are a part of gambling, this is true for that as well. However, there are some specific laws in Malaysia that allow certain people to own slot machine licenses.
There are two types of slots—physical slots based on land casinos or clubs and online slots found in online casinos. The two types of gaming have different authorizations in Malaysia and are not equal. However, things might be heading in an equal direction soon enough.
Slot Machine License Malaysia for land casinos
Under federal law, land-based casinos are actually legal in Malaysia, so it’s also legal to own a slot machine license for them. However, this does not apply to Muslims, who fall under Sharia law. More than 60% of Malaysia is constituted of Muslims, and it’s not legal for them to engage in any form of gambling or own a license for the same.
This means that only the non-Muslims living in Malaysia and the foreign tourists (regardless of religion) are allowed to own slot machine licenses for land-based casinos. The Betting Act of 1953 states that any facility that incorporates gambling of any form must have an issued license. So it’s not only legal for you to have a slot machine license; it’s also essentially mandatory.
Those who operate a gambling facility without a license and those who participate in it can be fined up to 3,000-5,000 ringgits and even serve time in jail. The thing about land casinos in Malaysia is that there’s only a single legal one, the casino at Genting Highlands Resort, 40 kilometers away from Kuala Lumpur. Running since January 1965, this casino has over 3000 slot machines, all of them licensed.
But there are numerous other small and private clubs all over the country that allow up to 15 machines, and it’s legal to own a slot license for them. As long as it’s on land and you’re not Muslim, it’s fine.
However, the minimum age to enter casinos is 21, so you can’t own a license before that age. Once again, this doesn’t apply to Muslims of any age. If non-Muslims or tourists under the age of 21 are seen conducting gambling activities or participating in them, they will be punishable by law and might even have to serve time in prison.
Slot Machine License Malaysia for online slots
Though land casinos have been legalized, the same unfortunately cannot be said about online slots. Under federal law, online slots are completely illegal. So you won’t be able to legally own a slot machine license in Malaysia for regulating your online slots, and playing them is also not legal for everyone, including non-Muslims. However, there is still a light of hope at the end of the tunnel.
To a great extent, the area of online slots being illegal remains very grey. This is because though the activity is illegal, there is a rapid surge of online casinos in Malaysia, and the government can’t regulate it all. The government fails to punish the guilty players and operators. This is essentially a loss for them because the revenue of online casinos is very high, so the government is losing the opportunity of getting more taxes. That’s why the discussion of legalizing online casinos is underway, and soon it will be legal to own an online slot machine license as well.
But once again, this does not apply to Muslims regardless of whether it’s legalized or not. Islamic Law’s gambling of all forms is forbidden, so slot machines are also not excluded from that. Of course, Muslims can still enjoy free slot machines which are available in large numbers online, but not real money slots. Owning a slot machine license is illegal for Malaysian Muslims under every law.
Is it possible to get a slot machine license in Malaysia?
It is, of course, possible, but it’s not at all easy. All slot operators have to get a slot machine license by the country in order to operate legally. But since the country has a strict system, getting a license here is almost impossible. It might require you to go through a lengthy and troublesome process.
This is precisely why many land casinos operate illegally and without a license here and there in Malaysia. This is a huge loss for the government because they’re losing a big chunk of money to tax revenues. And on the other hand, the number of illegal casinos keeps growing. But you can still find good online casinos in Malaysia that are fully licensed, for example, the amazing Epicwin casino.
The casino of Genting Highlands of Malaysia is under the regulations of the Ministry of Finance. It is also responsible for issuing licenses to slot operators. But after the law changed in 2003, the Malaysian government ceased to issue licenses. It is due to the fact that most of the population is Muslim. Since Muslims live under Sharia law, the government cannot issue them licenses.
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