Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Ministry of Social and Family Development say they will enhance efforts to stamp our unlawful gambling and problem gambling during the upcoming football World Cup, running from 20 November to 18 December 2022 in Qatar.
In a joint statement issued Thursday, the government agencies noted that Singapore Pools Pte Ltd remains the only operator licensed to provide lotteries and sports betting services in Singapore and that they would take all necessary measures to combat illegal activities during the World Cup.
This, they said, would include working with stakeholders to disable telephone lines that are reported to be advertising unlawful gambling activities, block access to unlawful gambling content and websites, and close bank accounts involved with unlawful gambling activities.
“Police will endeavour to track the identity of the perpetrators behind the unlawful gambling activities and take them to task,” the statement said.
Under Singapore’s new Gambling Control Act, which took effect on 1 August 2022, anyone who conducts unlawful gambling faces a fine of up to SG$500,000 and imprisonment of up to seven years, while repeat offenders face a fine of up to SG$700,000 and imprisonment of up to 10 years.
Individuals who gamble with unlicensed providers a fine of up to SG$10,000, imprisonment of up to six months, or both.
According to the MHA, Singapore’s new gambling regulator, the Gambling Regulatory Authority, has already blocked around 1,200 remote gambling websites, 250 bank accounts, and more than SG$33m in payments linked to remote gambling services.
The joint statement also said the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) will be strengthening public education efforts on unlawful gambling and problem gambling during the World Cup, including launching a new campaign to caution the public on the harm of excessive football betting.
Mr Sim Gim Guan, Chairman of the NCPG, said, “The World Cup is a major sporting event that should be enjoyed without the fear of gambling debts. We urge everyone to exercise personal responsibility and keep a look out for their family and friends who may be affected by problem gambling.”