The popularity of poker in Malaysia is mainly due to foreigners' influence. However, citizens who found the game in places like Hong Kong, Macau, and the Philippines, where games like Texas Hold'em and Omaha are prevalent, have also contributed to its growth.
The presence of well-known international players in Malaysia has helped increase the game's popularity. Malaysian poker players are famous for making quite an effect on the Asian circuit, where they have competed in tournaments such as the APL, APT, APPT, and others. Names such as Richard Yong, Ivan Leow, Paul Phua, and Michael Soyza are frequently mentioned.
The legal situation regarding poker and gambling in Malaysia is pretty unusual, as it is in many neighboring nations. As a Muslim country, Malaysia adheres to a strict set of rules and regulations. In contrast to the Syariah courts, which apply Sharia to the Muslim majority of the country, secular courts, which allow for religious freedom, apply to the remainder of the population.
Cash games were first made available to Malaysia's burgeoning poker community in March of 2020. The Sky casino, Gold Club, housed within Genting Casino in Genting Highlands, debuted a poker room in 2006, making it the first in the country to play cash games.
Malaysia has four cities with gambling facilities: Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh, and Genting Highlands, the latter of which is the only place in the country where you may play poker. There are no casinos in the other three cities.
Malaysia has two sets of gambling regulations in general, distinguishing between Muslims and non-Muslims, regardless of their place of origin. The first set of rules applies to Muslims, and the second applies to non-Muslims, irrespective of their country of origin.
The Betting Act of 1953 is considered the most critical "secular law" on gaming in Malaysia. The law has been changed multiple times (in 1958, 1959, 1961, 1989, 1992, and 2006). The running of lotteries is permitted under the Lotteries Act of 1952, while betting on horse racing is allowed under the Racing Act of 1961.
The upshot is that non-Muslim residents (such as Chinese and Indian minorities) and tourists over the age of 21 have access to a reasonable amount of legal land-based gambling, except for sports gambling, which is strictly forbidden in the country. Anyone convicted of operating or patronizing a betting house will face a fine of two hundred thousand ringgits and a sentence of five years in prison.
According to Islamic law, or Sharia, gambling is considered a significant offense to all Muslims. As a result, many Indonesian and Pakistani males have been apprehended while on vacation for visiting casinos.
Muslims who are discovered gambling in Malaysia face a fine of up to 3,000 ringgits, a 2-year prison sentence, or a combination of the two penalties. The severity of the penalty varies depending on the state, and there are 13 states in Malaysia.
In addition, it should be emphasized that under Malaysian law, all ethnic Malays are expected to be Sunni Muslims, which automatically places them in the group of people who are required to comply with Islamic law, or Sharia.
Of course, a system like this has been the subject of innumerable debates among the people who live in it. When it comes to gambling, nothing appears to be set in stone in Malaysia, yet it seems that the government recognizes the potential benefits of attracting tourists through casinos.
Yet, it is only a one-hour train trip away from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital city, making it a convenient weekend getaway. The majority of the poker players in the city are from the Chinese community, ethnic minorities, and tourists.
Genting's poker offerings are pretty restricted, with only a handful of yearly tournaments featuring Texas Hold'em. The first prize of 50,000 Malaysian ringgits will be awarded at Genting Malaysia for the largest annual Malaysian poker event (around 12,000 USD).
Aside from those rare occurrences, you'll only find Progressive Texas Hold'em (versus the dealer with bonus side bets as well) and Three Card Draw tournaments on the schedule. Genting is also well-known for offering its own branded "Caribbean" stud poker game, available at their casinos.
More competitions take place in Malaysia, but they are regarded as unlawful. Because they do not want to risk getting shut down, events such as the Poker Malaysia Championship do not publicize where they will be held until just before the event.
Finally, the Casino, a cruise ship that aims to be the world's largest casino on the high seas, will make its inaugural trip in 2020, providing a second option for live poker in Malaysia for the first time. A total of 1,330 rooms will be available to accommodate up to 3,200 people, including 900 staff members, in the casino, which is 295 meters long and 36 meters wide.
Online gambling is tolerated in Malaysia, even though it is officially banned. Every day, many Malaysians place bets on the Internet, and the vast majority of big international betting sites welcome users from the country. Paying out, making deposits, and playing are all straightforward as long as you stay with the big names.
Because neither the Betting Act nor any applicable change has been made to address internet gambling, the business has remained mostly uncontrolled to this day. The main result of tight regulations has been to push gambling online, where it’s less regulated.
The Malaysian government does not authorize the operation of internet gambling establishments in the country. On the other hand, banks have been ordered not to sanction transactions with foreign internet casinos.
However, the situation is slightly different in some Internet cafés throughout Malaysia, which have become popular as illegal online and land-based gaming establishments. In this case, the government has attempted to compel banks to prohibit transactions to and from international online poker operations. It has filed several claims against the Internet cafés that have been implicated.