The Singapore parliament has passed two key bills aimed at overhauling gambling regulation and laws governing everything from social gambling to proxy betting.
The Gambling Control Bill will see both proxy betting and underage gambling criminalized under Singapore law, while providing an exemption for “social gambling” among friends and family. It will also establish a licensing regime for products such as fruit machines, Singapore Pools’ products and gambling at private establishments, and introduce a class licensing regime for lower-risk gambling practices whereby products do not need to be individually licensed.
On the issue of proxy betting the Ministry of Home Affairs recently stated that, “This should be prohibited as the decision maker (the person located outside of the casino and ordering which bets are to be placed) would have bypassed the entry checks put in place to screen out individuals such as those under entry bans.”
Minister of State for Home Affairs, Desmond Tan, explained during Friday’s final deliberations that it would be up to casino operators to ensure proxy betting was not taking place on its gaming floors.
“Casinos will be liable to regulatory action, like financial penalties, if they fail to enforce this,” he said, according to Channel News Asia.
Also passed on Friday was the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore (GRA) Bill, which will reconstitute the Casino Regulatory Authority to establish the GRA as the single regulator for all forms of gambling. The GRA Bill will consolidate gambling regulatory expertise, which currently resides in different segments of government agencies, within a single agency.
These government agencies include the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA), which regulates Singapore’s two casinos, the Gambling Regulatory Unit in the Ministry of Home Affairs, which regulates online gambling services and fruit machines, the Singapore Totalisator Board which governs physical gambling services operated by Singapore Pools, and the Singapore Police Force which takes enforcement action against unlawful gambling activities.
The Ministry of Home Affairs recently confirmed that it plans to establish the new GRA by mid-2022.
A new Casino Control (Amendment) Bill will be tabled at a later date, aiming “to enhance GRA’s effectiveness in regulating the casinos, and ensure the continued relevance of casino regulations.”
Singapore’s parliament already passed in January a new Gambling Duties Bill which saw casino tax rates raised and the exclusivity period of the state’s two IRs – Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa – extended until 2030.