March 20, 2023


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New gambling regulator, legislation to be established by 2021

SINGAPORE: A new gambling regulator will be established by 2021 to oversee the entire gambling landscape in Singapore, in a move that will consolidate and optimise resources under one single agency, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a news release on Friday (Apr 3).

Within the same period, MHA will also review and amend legislation pertaining to gambling, it said.

Gambling regulation in Singapore is currently overseen by various government agencies, including the Casino Regulatory Authority, MHA’s Gambling Regulatory Unit, the Singapore Totalisator Board, the Singapore Police Force and the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

While the gambling situation in Singapore is under control, there are emerging trends that might impact the landscape, MHA said.

“Overall, our gambling regulatory framework has delivered good outcomes. Gambling-related crimes remains low in number, and problem gambling is under control.

“However, there are emerging trends that can have a significant impact on the gambling landscape,” the ministry said.

Technology, for example, has changed the way people gamble and made it more accessible. Business models have also evolved to introduce gambling elements in products that are traditionally not seen as gambling.

In light of this, the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) will be established by 2021 and will “consolidate and optimise gambling regulatory resources within a single agency”.

“This will allow GRA to stay even more effectively abreast of technological and global trends, respond faster to emerging products in particular those that cut across different domains, and take a more holistic approach to gambling policies and issues,” MHA said.

The new authority will work with partners such as the Ministry of Social and Family Development and National Council on Problem Gambling. The police will continue to enforce the laws against illegal gambling activities.

By 2021, MHA will also review and amend all gambling legislation by 2021 to ensure “regulatory mechanisms can effectively address evolving gambling products and business models”.

It cited mystery boxes, a game of chance where users purchase a box of items of unknown value, as an example.

“We will also review the penalties for offences to ensure consistency across remote and terrestrial gambling.

“Even as we update our laws, MHA will retain a generally prohibitive stance towards gambling, and continue to maintain a risk-based regulatory approach towards existing gambling operators.”

As part of the changes, MHA will engage key stakeholders such as gambling operators, religious organisations, social service agencies, and members of the public.

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