As the popularity of online gaming rapidly accelerates, the government of Singapore is proposing changes to its laws to achieve better oversight of the industry and minimise potential social harms.
The plan is to establish a new regulatory body, the Gambling Regulatory Authority, to manage all forms of gambling. The current Casino Regulatory Authority regulates casinos, a Ministry of Home Affairs unit regulates online gambling and fruit machines, and the Singapore Totalisator Board governs physical gambling services run by lottery operator Singapore Pools.
A statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs says that two draft laws, the Gambling Control Bill and the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Bill, introduced in Parliament on February 14th, aim to address the increased accessibility of gambling products and the blurred line between gambling and gaming. They add that technology has changed the way people gamble and business models have adapted to changing consumer preferences for games with gambling elements.
Demand for sports betting through online channels for Singapore Pools has also grown – it received about 60% of its revenues from online channels in the financial year 2020, compared to around 30% three years earlier.
In order to protect the vulnerable, the Ministry states MHA that the current minimum age for gambling will remain at 21 years old, except for physical Singapore Pools’ outlets, which will stay at 18 years old.