To keep up with the growing popularity of internet gambling while also minimizing the societal harm it does, the government is considering adjustments to the legislation.
The Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) will be established as part of the overhaul of gambling legislation to oversee all kinds of gambling.
Fruit machines as well as online gambling, in general, are regulated by the Ministry of Home Affairs (or MHA for short), while the Singapore Totalizator Board oversees the physical gambling services provided by sweepstakes provider Singapore Pools or SGpool. The Casino Regulatory Authority oversees casinos.
Changes for the good or the bad?
The Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Bill and the Gambling Control Bill are the two proposed legislations. Gambling and gaming items have become more accessible, and the border between the two has been increasingly blurred, the Malaysian House of Representatives (MHA) stated in a statement.
As part of a press release, the MHA stated that technological advancements have transformed the way people bet and that business plans have adapted to these changes.
In the 2020 fiscal year, Singapore Pools received over 60% of its income through online channels, up from approximately 30% three years earlier. This growth is due to an increased interest in sports gambling through online channels.
From 2011 to 2020, the number of individuals detained for unlawful gaming operations has been steady, but the MHA says that laws and policies must be updated to keep up with the changing landscape of gambling.
What exactly changed?
MHA proposes a number of modifications to ensure that gaming regulations continue to be effective, including amending the concept of gambling to include both existing and new gambling products. Betting on any outcome of a competition, event, or process can be included in the scope of the definition of the term.
Gambling carrier licenses for major products, such as SGpool4D products, both online and in the physical world, along with “class licenses” for products that are relatively low risks, with the likes of loot boxes, mystery gifts, and sales promotional lotteries, will also be granted.
Additional sanctions for illegal gambling services providers, including obligatory prison sentences for both the operators and their agents, are also being sought. Proxy gambling, or betting on someone else’s behalf, should likewise be made illegal.
For physical and online gambling offenses, punishments will be based on a three-tier system, with the heaviest fines being levied on the operators, followed by the agents, and finally the players.
Gambling with friends and family members, a common pastime in this country, is immune from proposed legislation by the MHA. However, in order to participate in this type of gaming, you must be related to the other players or directly know them.
There should also be no commercial or personal gain from gambling, except the profits from the game itself. Taking place on the boundaries of a person’s residence is permitted, even encouraged.
In order to determine whether people are “sufficiently and meaningfully” acquainted to qualify as social gamblers, the ministry emphasized that online social gaming would not be excused.
MHA ensures safety and player protection
Gaming at Singapore Pools’ physical shops would remain at 18 years old, MHA said, to prevent individuals at risk from gambling. The present minimum age for playing at SGpool will maintain the 21 years of age requirement.
Under the proposed rules, underage gambling and entering gambling venues will be punishable by law, save in the case of Singapore Pools’ physical locations, where admission checks are not required.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said in a separate press release that its exclusion mechanism will be expanded to more financially needy individuals on June 1 in conjunction with the presentation of bills in Parliament.
These people can no longer gamble in casinos, private club fruit machine rooms, or online at Singapore Pools according to this new policy.
For those on the national rental program, MSF says that the platform will be expanded to all renters and occupiers of the public rental housing subsidy program. To avoid compulsive gaming among homes with financial requirements, this is an upriver method.