When we talk about gambling or casino in Malaysia, the first thing that comes to mind will undoubtedly be cool air, refreshing landscapes, endless shopping outlets, dazzling shows, and round-the-clock facilities. This is where the magic happens in Resort World Genting founded by the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong back in 1971. It is the one and only land-based casino that we have which has made casino games legal to play for all Malaysians and to the rest of the world except Muslims. In essence, Malaysians themselves are a major contributor to the gambling scene and when online casinos proliferated, the shift of players from offline to online assimilated nicely.
So how exactly has online gaming evolved and what contributed to its success in Malaysia? Nowadays, it’s not so hard for anyone to have heard about online gambling or online casinos. There are just too many players enjoying the online facilities albeit the irony of coming from a much conservative country that complies to certain Sharia laws and rules, as well as being a predominantly Muslim based occupant. This is why Malaysia has such an interesting take when it comes to online casinos. For starters, aside from the Sharia law, there are a number of Acts in Malaysia that governs the whole gambling industry which makes some exception to the non-Muslim residents as there is still sufficient freedom given to the rest to indulge in. Lottery Act 1952 allows Malaysians to pursue lotteries while the Racing Act 1961 permits betting on horse races while some of us get to enjoy the lush greeneries and the heart-stopping action that takes part in the horse racing circuits such as the Penang Turf Club, Selangor Turf Club and Ipoh Turf Club that have existed more than a century ago! Sports booking has also come a long way as well as lottery buying. With the advancement of the internet, one can place multiple bets in way too many sporting games featured in some online casinos that covers the sport section. Even lotteries are made available and features such as scratch cards are also a form of lottery in hopes for the players to hit the jackpot from their online casino provider.
Truly, it has been very exciting for Malaysians in recent years due to the aggressive openings of online casinos in the Asian markets as well as European based online casinos making their way, penetrating into the Asian market. So what really constituted this paradigm shift of offline to online and how has online casino platforms evolved in Malaysia?
Going Beyond Borders
Ever since the inception of the internet, some casino companies has turned to online platform solutions seeing that it has many advantages and limitless possibilities. It developed pretty well, mostly started in the western countries and slowly but surely reaches the shores of our Asian markets to follow suit. It garnered such massive attention that one of the pioneers of online casinos has amassed huge following in the region of millions of players worldwide. Such explosive attempt also created and caught many unwanted controversies because more and more casinos started to follow its footsteps to turn online which gave birth to even more unscrupulous acts and ways in doing so. Licensing bodies have a tougher time keeping tabs and making sure that these companies abide by the rules and regulations to operate. In Malaysia, it is still illegal to set up an online casino nor partake in its activity. So, at large it is still dependable on foreign platforms or at least not operating from the soils of Malaysia. This has created a fiasco of many other things and one of it being more local operators and third party websites linking Malaysian players to these online casinos. Over the years, the adaptability is considered fast and alluring given that more localization attempts were made. These are among the few aspects that have evolved greatly in our local scene concerning the localization of online casinos:
Adaptation To Local Customs
Diversity is an area much understated and it is very important to not just accept the fact but to embrace it. Some online casinos in the early days do not account for this factor and thus making it tough for market penetration. The behaviors in gaming differs considerably from one region to another. Take sports for example when we talk about sports booking. Countries like India adores the game of cricket and it is such a popular sport that companies like 1xBet would cater a section for the Indian nationals to place their bets. This however does not apply to other countries where cricket may not be such a big thing. In Malaysia, football is very much a loved sport by the mass majority even though the local clubs for the sport pales in comparison in the international arena. Yet, whenever a match is telecasted live be it the EPL (English Premier League) or World Cup, throngs of people will flock together to catch their favorite matches. Online casinos are evolving fast, by merely opening of an account in their platform rewards their users with high resolution and crisp display of live matches directly on mobile phone and gadgets so that users can watch them and place their bets accordingly any day and time leading up to the match.
The provision of more languages on a single platform in online casino also means breaking the barriers to get closer to their audience and players. Established online casinos now support multiple languages even down to some spoken dialects. This is an area of great advancement especially when we want to empower a paradigm shift for local players from playing at their favorite spot onto an online platform. Malaysia is a diverse country and the localization of languages help bridge the disparity between users and the providers. This simple option alone truly makes the world smaller and people of all walks get to enjoy the same game in their own language of choice. More and more forums sprung up to cater for such discussions and local lingos like “cuci” to signify withdrawals can be seen frequently used. In short, the acceptance of Malaysians towards online casino has grew tremendously.
Even the promotions of games as can be observed are skewed towards the local favorites. In Malaysia, when we talk about gambling, 3 games are instantaneously recognizable. Sic Bo or the game of dice revolving around 3 dice used that is commonly played in Genting casino. Baccarat, a card favorite, evidently from the number of tables and lobbies catered specifically to it in contrast to other card games. Last but not least, it is a cardinal sin to not mention slots. Slots has been making huge waves from the time it can be found in certain dodgy shops operating in various locations throughout Malaysia and the many slot machines that lined the floors of Genting casinos colorfully. When adapted online, there are even more ways to play it and Malaysians seemed to love every bit of it. It’s technically fast, simple to play and doesn’t require much thinking except for the click of a button to activate the spinning reels. Massive amount of Malaysian players are hooked onto slots and there is almost something for everyone with so much games to choose from ranging from 3 or 5 reels, multi-ways of winning, lucrative payout rates and of course the occasional accompanying speculations that are very much loved by Malaysians. The appeal will just develop further from here rather than other type of games because Malaysia just love their slots. More intuitive features, ultra-realistic graphics and 3D effects are the way to go in the evolvement of games. Some newer game features such as live TV game shows like Big Wheel received no love at all because it doesn’t resonate well with the local habits. Perhaps it will attract more players from the United States of America since game shows are a huge thing over there.
Gone are the days of physical bookies, they may still be around but at a lesser extent or a shift in their roles. Nowadays, with online casino, anyone and everyone can place a bet directly as long as you have an active connection and a gadget to go online. Unfortunate mishaps associated with bookies can be eradicated but still it does open up to another channel of unscrupulous agents on the internet. Hence, safety and security concerns revolving the internet is the next topic of interest.
Established online casinos accepts even local currencies and has partnered with various exchange merchants as well as leading banks. Methods of payment is vast and for Malaysians, we can view what are the modes of transaction facilitated that is easiest to us. Some said that it’s best to choose a method that is untraceable instead of going through banks whereby the local regulators can get a hold of such transactions happening. At present, one could find so many facilities to be used as compared to what it was back then. Deposit your money and get non-physical chips to play with that the amount is indicated by digital numbers on your screen. Malaysian players are fast to cope with the latest advancements and even cryptocurrencies are being used at online casino that accepts and facilitate such currency.
Targeted Asia Casinos
Asia represent! Well, they are here and it’s growing rapidly. Big boys like Asia Gaming has served our local players for years and even being recognized in the international arena as they deservingly should be. It is already bringing its platform onto the European region to acquire more new players from ashore. It makes total sense as there are a huge number of immigrants living abroad that would probably miss a game or two of their locally played dice or card games. Apart from that, it will serve as a unique and interesting platform to introduce some other lesser known Asian-flavored games to the world.
Malaysians too enjoyed their fair share of it. There are many slot games that are loosely based on traditional folklores and beliefs which explain further why it appeals so much to the Malaysian players. Some titles are horrendously repetitive but yet there are some highly refreshing ones to be anticipated. Slots like Monkey King that focuses on the Journey to the West is such a title that has been over exploited. Interesting ones like Inspector Dee slots would give Sherlock Holmes a run for their money as it is cleverly adapted into slots that follows the intuitive, daring and investigative character of Judge Dee, similar to its western counterpart Sherlock Holmes. Enigmatic characters used which Asians can be very fond of or simply close to the heart as we noticed some familiar objects used like a Chinese urn, a traditional musical instrument, a calligraphy or images of deities and goddesses. The soundtrack could even draw some good reminiscence while in the game play. Some features classic instrumentals or a score from the original movie scene. Malaysian generally grew up with a lot of stories of folklores and deep-rooted culture just like any Asian families. That is what makes an online casino that understands the Asian culture appealing. Graphics evolved tremendously but the sentiments of it is kept intact and in the near future, we hope to see more interesting adaptations of our favorite folklore turned into a slot game.
Another such ingenuity can be seen from some unique and special feature in the game of cards known as Baccarat. Ask any typical Asian player and you can bet that they will admit to a strange habit of ‘squeezing cards’ It is of absolute beauty that this physical gesture could be adapted onto an online experience. Some online casinos now features this ability to squeeze cards through an animated depiction of the action. It may seem funny or even silly at first, but the notion of being able to do so in your online casino does increase the euphoria of a player. Malaysian players has so many self-developed customs or habits while gambling that it would be remarkable to see more of these adopted and adapted into an online gameplay in the future.
Online casino is now broadly termed as online entertainment and deservingly so with so much elements of fun in the picture. Certain websites, especially Asian based have creatively put together more elements of surprises that may or may not be a thing yet for the western market. One such feature is the utilization of attractive hosts in a self-contained lobby that will accompany the guests while gaming on the platform. They doubled up as commentators as well as an eye-candy to keep the guests entertained. It is a lucrative market on its own where the practice of such events are most welcome by Asian players. Taking things up one notch, some girls are even clad in bikinis for the extra appeal, be it as host or even live dealers. The endless possibilities with online casino is really unimaginable and in search of crazy excitement, we anticipate more things to come by to keep players glued to their seats and the screen.
The Marketing Of Online Casino In Malaysia
Currently, the marketing of online casinos in Malaysia are rampant but in a rather discreet manner for understandable reasons due to the compliance to the Betting Act of 1953 which forbids any gambling activity to take place. There is no distinct guideline in terms of players engaged with online casinos but one shouldn’t be careless nor take for granted given the sensitivity of such matter.
Of late, we have witnessed some pretty daring publicity stunts which of course doesn’t resonate well with the public. The insensitivity became a nuisance instantly when a certain company promotes online gambling directly to the public in a short video found from Youtube. What escalated the public’s anger was the fact that it was done tastelessly and asinine by promoting it together with a religious festivity that involves the Muslim community. This of course sparked a nationwide arrange as to how and why it happens leading to a tussle between enforces and the online casino operators.
Without the proper legalization of the online gambling industry in the country of Malaysia, chances are there will always be a suppression on the evolving industry. As of now, only time will tell what the online casino landscape will be in Malaysia, at least nothing abrupt and groundbreaking in the foreseeable future but mind you that online casino is only going to grow from strength to strength within the community in Malaysia.
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