Singapore is set to establish a new Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) that will bring together the nation’s various regulatory bodies under a single agency.
Set to be implemented by 2021, the GRA will see the current Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA), which oversees Singapore’s casinos, and the Gambling Regulatory Unit, which regulates remote gambling services and “fruit machines”, come under one umbrella. The GRA will also govern terrestrial gambling services currently overseen by the Singapore Totalisator Board, illegal gambling activities enforced by the Singapore Police Force and even responsible gambling measures currently controlled by the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
In a statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that while Singapore’s current gambling regulatory framework has delivered positive outcomes – with casino crimes having contributed fewer than 1% of all crime and the number of people arrested for illegal gambling down by 28% from 2011 to 2019 – there are “emerging trends” that can have a significant impact on the gambling landscape.
“For example, technology has changed the way people gamble and made it more accessible,” the MHA said. “Business models have evolved to suit changing customer preferences by introducing gambling elements in products that are traditionally not seen as gambling.”
In response, the new GRA “will consolidate and optimize 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.”
The MHA added that all gambling legislation will be reviewed and amended by 2021, including the scope of products identified as gambling and penalties for various offences.
“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,” it said.