Legislation Watch: Government reviewing gambling laws says Prime Minister

In a written reply to a question raised during the ongoing meeting of the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives) of the Malaysian Parliament, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, said that the Ministry of Finance is reviewing the gaming legislation with a view to introducing amendments that will enable the government “to enforce and regulate licensed gambling activities and online gambling more comprehensively.”1
According to the Prime Minister, the following gaming legislation are being reviewed: 
  • Common Gaming Houses Act 1953;
  • Pool Betting Act 1967;
  • Lotteries Act 1952; and
  • Betting Act 1953.2 
As the last amendment to the above-referred legislation was made more than two decades ago in 2001, a review is not only warranted but well overdue as the internet has made gambling easily accessible through local and offshore online gambling websites.
In November 2021, the then Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamed Said, said that Malaysia’s gambling laws were being reviewed to tackle online gambling activities.3 Regrettably, amendments have not been tabled to-date.
Although the Finance Minister did not indicate when the amendments will be tabled in Parliament, it is hoped that the government will give priority to this long overdue update to our archaic gambling laws.
Alert by Joey Tiw (Senior Associate) of the Corporate Practice of Skrine. 

1 Govt reviewing gaming law amendments to ensure more comprehensive enforcement, regulation; TheEdge CEO Morning Brief; 26 May 2023.
2 These legislation were revised pursuant to the Revision of Laws Act 1968 and the current versions are the Common Gaming Houses Act 1953 (Revised 1983), Pool Betting Act 1967 (Revised 2018), Lotteries Act 1952 (Revised 1983) and Betting Act 1953 (Revised 1992). The Revision of Laws Act 1968 allows the Commissioner of Law Revision to update existing laws but not to make any substantive alteration or amendment of any law.
3 Archaic gambling laws being reviewed, says Deputy Home Minister; thestaronline; 8 November 2021.

This alert contains general information only. It does not constitute legal advice nor an expression of legal opinion and should not be relied upon as such. For further information, kindly contact skrine@skrine.com.