New Singapore gambling legislation receives first reading

Singapore is hoping to set out clearer regulations for gambling through the new legislation.
Singapore is hoping to set out clearer regulations for gambling through the new legislation.

Two key bills have seen their first reading in parliament as Singapore looks to establish a the new Gambling Regulatory Authority mid-year.

Singapore.- Two key bills on gambling legislation have had their first readings in Singapore’s parliament today. The Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Bill and the Gambling Control Bill aim to set out clearer regulations for gambling.

As for the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Bill will create a new Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) as a single regulator for all forms of gambling. The aim is to have the regulator established for mid-year.

The authority will regulate the entire gambling landscape in Singapore which is currently overseen by multiple agencies: the Casino Regulatory Authority regulates the casinos; MHA’s Gambling Regulatory Unit regulates online gambling services and fruit machines; the Singapore Totalisator Board governs physical gambling services operated by Singapore Pools, and the police enforces against unlawful gambling activities.

Meanwhile, The Gambling Control Bill proposes to increase penalties for unlawful gambling both land-based and online and impose stronger penalties for repeat offenders who facilitate or operate unlawful gambling services. Operators found to have allowed underage or excluded individuals to gamble will be liable for an offence or disciplinary action.

The new legislation will also make it a criminal offence for under-aged individuals to gamble, “regardless whether with legal or unlawful operators” and for under-aged individuals to enter gambling areas, “except where entry checks are not required”.

Under the new bill, the legal age for gambling in Singapore will remain 21, except for gambling at Singapore Pools’ physical outlets which will remain at 18 years old. A new offence of proxy gambling will be introduced, criminalising gambling through someone else.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a press release that the bills would help “gambling regulations keep pace with the evolving landscape, as technology makes gambling more accessible and blurs the lines between gambling and gaming.

“To stay ahead of technological and global trends, respond more adequately to emerging gambling products, and make a more holistic and coherent approach to gambling issues, we should rationalise and consolidate.”

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