Singapore Pools and Turf Club have been selected as the only two entities allowed to offer online gambling in Singapore.
(Image credit: Asiaone)
Government officials have decided to soften the ban on online gambling in Singapore in efforts to curtail ‘underground’ gambling activities. This comes merely two days after the Workers’ Party demanded the government reject any proposals for online gambling services. Members of the WP have voiced their concern how this may lead to increased gambling addictions – an initiative the government clamped down on in 2014, which makes their ease on the ban now seem somewhat contradictory.
Online gambling laws in Singapore
However, the government believes their loosened ban on online gambling in Singapore won’t suffer repercussions, rather it will allow them to regulate activities via frequent audits and inspections. Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club are the only two operators that have been granted licenses after the former submitted an application in May 2015 and the latter one month later in the same year.
Singapore Pools will handle lotteries like 4D and Toto, while also offering betting market for football – one of the most popular betting markets in the country – and Formula 1. The Turf Club on the other hand will offer online markets for horse-racing events.
Despite promising some of the aforementioned services to customers, neither of the two entities will be allowed to offer new betting markets or gambling products without explicit permission from the government. Additionally, online gambling in Singapore will not encompass poker in its portfolio of online casino games.
If any one of the two operators fail to comply with any of the regulations or are found in breach of online gambling laws, they will be slapped with a S$1 million fine for each offence. Furthermore, the penalty could be extended to the point where their license for online gambling in Singapore could be suspended or – in the worst case – revoked.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) commented that while they might have ‘the most comprehensive blocking regime in the world’ it is not deemed realistic they can completely wipe out illegal activities in terms of online gambling in Singapore.
“A complete ban on remote gambling drives demand and activities underground, and may create larger incentives for criminal syndicates to target Singapore,” the ministry said.
Therefore, it makes sense to introduce some form of online gambling – albeit it minimal betting offers at this stage – to prevent ‘criminal syndicates’ from targeting Singapore.
“The greater the extent of underground illegal activities, the greater the risk to law and order, and the greater the danger to individuals who might be involved in underground remote gambling,” the MHA commented.