The Anti-Money laundering and Counter Measures Act (AMCA), which came into being from 2021 has established the Code of Conduct for online casino gambling operators in Malaysia. However, this does not affect the ability of offshore gambling operators to operate in the country under the existing law. The law only deals with its reporting and investigation function. Its functioning is limited to ensuring compliance with the requirements of the AMCA and other applicable laws. The law stipulates that all operators must register with the Commission and comply with its regulations.
All operators have to be registered with the Commission and all transactions have to be declared. This information is communicated to the National Anti-Corruption unit and Financial Supervision Agency (FSSA). The AMSA and the FSSA conduct regular inspections of all gambling operators in Malaysia and lay down regulations for those operators in 2021. After a finding by the inspectors, they issue sanctions for those that they find are conducting unregistered gambling or if there is evidence of gambling being carried out on behalf of people who do not meet the minimum age requirements. These provisions are applicable to all online casinos operating in the country.
The problem of underage gambling in Malaysia has led to the formation of online casinos under the aegis of the House of Representatives. Under this structure, each member has direct access to the House of Parliamentarians and can raise questions and seek answers. If the questions are not taken care of satisfactorily, the member can refer them to the House of Representatives. As a result, the members of the House of Representatives can review the operation of the online casinos and pass relevant decisions on them. They have exclusive access to the personal financial accounts of the casinos and are able to check the authenticity and nature of the cheques and wagers issued by them.
For online casinos in Malaysia to operate within the confines of the law, it needs to be licensed by the Secretary General of Malaysia, who is a member of the International Casinos and Gaming Association. This is the most stringent regulation that any online gambling authority has to comply with. Before allowing any casino to operate, the Secretary General issues permits for them.
There are a number of government-backed private companies that operate online casinos in Malaysia. However, these are not licensed by the Secretary General. Therefore, there is no regulatory body to monitor their operations. They offer gaming opportunities to anyone who comes to their websites and make wagers without any formal training. In addition to that, these online casinos in Malaysia have no effective systems in place to verify the backgrounds and credibility of their customers and players.
There are many concerns that are highlighted by the Attorney-General’s Department when it comes to online casinos in Malaysia. The department has been known to block websites that promote gambling, especially those that involve internet gambling. It also blocks any software that allows the playing of blackjack, roulette or poker from being accessed from certain IP addresses. Most importantly, the department has been known to close down sites that engage in activities that are inappropriate, such as advertising online pornography. This could result in prosecution for the operators of such sites.
The law does not specify how these operators should register themselves to be legal operators of online casinos in Malaysia. Thus, all operators must register under the Payment Services Regulation Act 1997, which is under the jurisdiction of the Bank of India. This enables them to transact business through debit cards and electronic checks. It also requires operators to present their identity, employment status and any other documents that would prove their identity to clients before being able to open an account to operate an online casino.
The effect of this law on online casinos in Malaysia is not yet known. This is largely because the government has not taken any concrete action to supervise the operation of these casinos. It has also not set up mechanisms for licensing and supervision of these operators, except for a few license schemes that they have implemented in selected areas. There is no certainty that these laws will have any significant impact on the growth of online casinos in Malaysia.