Malaysian Casino License
The Malaysian Gaming Commission has implemented a policy of strictly enforcing its strict licensing policies for all gambling operators within the Kingdom of Malaysia. These operators must ensure to display the correct identity of the casino that they are licensed to operate. It is the duty of the operator to ensure that this is done, by adhering to the stipulated guidelines and laws of the Malaysian Government. Failure to comply can result in severe penalties, up to and including suspension and cancellation of the license. Recently, in Kuala Lumpur, a Chinese man was arrested on charges of attempting to access a Malaysian casino owned by his friend. On his way into the casino, he had a weapon which he had purchased from an illegal dealer.
It is easy to understand why the authorities have become so vigilant against people who wish to enter any casinos that they wish in Malaysia. These days, there are more instances of organised crime and cheating taking place at many of the country’s popular tourist destinations. Some of the crimes may be genuine, but the majority of cases involve operators who have either obtained the wrong license to operate, or have been given the wrong one. The result has been increased security at all casinos in Malaysia. This is another reason why the authorities feel obliged to implement such strict policies.
Before becoming licensed by the Malaysian Gaming Industry Authority, operators of all casinos must obtain a gaming license from the Ministry of Development. They also need to apply for a government gaming license from the Department of Public Security. Both these licenses are valid only for six months and can be renewed if the year has passed. This renewal is not automatic. It is entirely up to the discretion of the applicant, whether they wish to renew the license or not. Individuals wishing to re-apply for a gaming license should check if their application for a fresh license has been accepted.
Many operators of casino businesses in Malaysia are extremely well aware that the Ministry of Development controls the application and renewal of licenses. Many have spent considerable sums on advertisements in the regional newspapers and television. However, some operators have taken this aspect too far and failed to register their business, resulting in heavy fines being issued. Some local governments in Malaysia have threatened to close down gaming facilities if the issue does not get resolved soon. To date, no government officials have threatened to take such drastic measures.
The Malaysian Gaming Industry Authority was formed in 2021 to regulate all aspects of the gaming industry in Malaysia. It consists of a Director and a Managing Director. The directors are appointed for a fixed term by the Attorney General, the Secretary to the Cabinet, and the Prime Minister. The MGA also enacts and implements policy related to the licensing of operators of casinos, gambling houses and sports facilities.
Applications for casino license must be submitted to the MGA in its own name, along with relevant documents. These include the application form for a gambling license, casino license applications, financial statements, business plan, and other documents that will enable the MGA to ascertain whether or not the application is eligible for a license. To be eligible for a license, an applicant must comply with all the requirements set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Department of Internal Business and Development. MGA regulates all casinos in Malaysia, and the operation of all gambling facilities within Malaysia. The MGA has also formulated policies that protect the interests of both the local state government and the interests of the gaming industry and has published criteria for licensing that ensure that licenses are awarded to only those establishments that are capable of meeting the criteria laid down.
The Attorney General, Secretary for Culture and Languages, and the Prime Minister are responsible for the formulation of policies that will allow operators of casinos to operate in the country. In practice, these policies are implemented through the MGA, and the government’s policies regarding the licensing of casinos are enforced through the MGA. The MGA works with the government and the private sector, seeking to promote the growth of the casino industry in Malaysia while ensuring it remains free from all forms of corruption. However, the MGA is not entirely successful in its attempt to regulate the operations of casinos, as they have found that many operators of casinos have used their position of power and influence to circumvent the MGA’s attempts at regulation. For example, in Penang, the capital city of Malaysia, the House of Assembly passed a resolution in support of a constitutional amendment that would enable a personal freedom clause to be added to the current criminal law that allows for jail terms for anyone who attempts to influence legislation in this regard.
As a result of this action, the MGA threatened to take legal action against members of the House of Assembly who supported the amendment. This, in turn, led to a flurry of arrests and raids across the region, which resulted in the closure of several gaming facilities. The attacks on the MGA in Malaysia have resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs in the gaming industry, and more importantly, the loss of the gaming industry itself. This has led to calls for a moratorium on the implementation of licensing schemes for casinos in the country.