Singapore’s New Gambling Laws Survive Final Parliamentary Vote

Singapore is a step closer to introducing new gambling laws in the country. A successful final reading of the updated laws in parliament last Friday paves the way for a major overhaul of the gambling landscape.

Singapore Parliament
Singapore Parliament
The Singapore Parliament in session. One of the recent meetings found approval for new gambling laws. (Image: Today)

Singapore is one of many countries currently reviewing its gambling laws. Like the others, it wants to introduce new rules and regulations that fit the new gambling environment. Much of the industry has changed due to the introduction of online gaming.

To that end, Singapore began working on an approach to gambling reform several years ago. It’s now ready to put its plan into action, although there are a couple of more hurdles to jump first.

Singapore Advances Gambling Reform

Singapore’s parliament took a second look at the new gambling laws last Friday. It was to be the final review and it passed without difficulty, according to GGRAsia. The new Gambling Control Act is in place and will bring together the country’s different betting laws under one umbrella.

Legislators have updated definitions tied to gambling activity in order to make a better distinction between is and isn’t legal. There are strict penalties in place for illegal gambling now and even stricter punishments for repeat offenders.

There is also a provision that prohibits proxy gambling – no more will locals be able to wager through friends or family. Additionally, it is now a criminal offense to gamble underage, with a six-year jail sentence waiting for any minor who tries.

Underage has two definitions. In almost all locations, and online, the minimum age is 21. However, for Singapore Pools’ locations, the minimum age for the lottery and sports betting venues is 18.

All of the updates apply to both land-based and online gambling. However, there are also exceptions. As anticipated, a stipulation that the new laws don’t cover “social” gambling – creating a home game for friends and family – remained intact.

New Regulator Coming Soon

Singapore’s new Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) is coming soon, as well. The regulator is part of the country’s overall reform and will oversee all forms of gambling. If everything stays on track, it will begin conducting business before the end of this summer.

Previously, different forms of gambling responded to different regulators. The GRA brings everything together in hopes of making an efficient, productive regulatory body.

There will be synergies from consolidating gambling legislation and regulation. As the single regulator for all forms of gambling, the Gambling Regulatory Authority will be able to pool resources and expertise together to deal with the issue,” asserts Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan.

A single regulator can more easily keep on top of the changes of the gambling industry, according to Tan. It can also provide a “coherent” response to oversight.

To support the GRA’s initiatives, Singapore is going to put together a new Casino Control (Amendment) Bill. It will specifically focus on the regulator’s charter, as well as its responsibilities and capabilities.

With the ability to update regulations as necessary going forward, the GRA gives Singapore a modern gambling industry. It will become a safer industry that also has greater appeal on the international stage.

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