Singapore Online Gambling Guide

Gambling Industry Overview in Singapore

The following approaches will be presented

  • Gambling legislation in Singapore
  • Gambling authorities in Singapore
  • Online casinos in Singapore
  • and more

Flag of SingaporeSingaporean gambling market is considered an emerging one and the traditional casinos on the territory of the country are thriving despite the current issues that have befallen the Asian gambling sector. As for the remote gambling activities, Singaporean officials have taken imminent actions towards their complete prohibition and Singapore players are not allowed to place bets via mobile devices and computers.

History of Gambling Regulation in Singapore

Singaporean authorities have been reluctant to diversify the casino industry and give their consent to the establishment of casino resorts on the territory of the country for a long time. That had changed in 2005 when the Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that two casinos were to be established at Marina Bayfront and Sentosa. Singaporean officials opted for such a move in order to remain competitive, keep the tourism sector and the economy in general, stable.

At the beginning of 2006, the Casino Control Bill was introduced and the two casino resorts were given the nod for a 10-year period that expires in 2016.

Overview

Gambling Legislation in SingaporeAlthough Singapore is not among the countries that have long traditions in casino games, the market has undergone rapid development in the recent years and Singapore became the second most visited and most influential gambling destination in Asia with annual revenue that exceeds US$6 billion. According to the Singaporean laws, players are supposed to pay entrance fee that depends on their nationality. Singaporean residents pay more than foreigners as gambling authorities wanted to discourage them from engaging in gambling activities and therefore, protect them from the negative factors they are exposed to – namely overspending and addiction. Back in 2005, two casinos, part of Marina Bay Sands and Sentosa, were backed by authorities.

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Singapore has been regarded by many as an innovator when it comes to authorities’ approach towards traditional and online gambling and every step they take is closely monitored by the other Asian countries seeking gambling diversification and clarification of the existing gambling regulations.

Apart from the wide variety of casino games in the two venues, Singapore residents and visitors used to be able to take part in sports betting on local and international level. The abundant choice of places where a player could place a bet, made the sports betting a widespread activity in Singapore.

Gambling affairs in Singapore have to be compatible with four pieces of legislation. The Private Lotteries Act of 1952 controls the activities and the taxes applicable to private lotteries. The Betting Act of 1960 is the piece of legislation betting houses and bookmakers have to comply with. Common Gaming Houses Act 1961 prohibits the popularization as well as the participation in lottery games and attendance of common gaming houses. The Casino Control Act is the latest piece of legislation that regulates the gaming activities performed in casinos. However, it does not address the online gambling and the impact it has on residents.

The lack of clearly specified law related to online gambling affairs was likely to lead to breaches in the existing regulations. That is why Singapore gambling authorities decided to pay closer attention to the online gambling issue and forbid it on the territory of the country.

Online Gambling

Internet Gambling in SingaporeAlthough online gambling was projected to bring stable revenue, Singapore legislators decided to completely prohibit the online gambling on the territory of the country. For that purpose, The Remote Gambling Act of 2014 was passed and the President Tony Tan approved it at the beginning of February 2015. According to the clauses the Act contains, all forms of online gambling in Singapore are strictly prohibited.

In a special statement, released by the Ministry of Home Affairs, were revealed the main reasons why online gambling is not available anymore. Authorities pointed to the protection they needed to ensure the vulnerable part of the population with and limit the dangers caused by free access to online gambling.

Apart from online casino games, the Act also prohibits racing and sports wagering in Singapore but the social games such as Candy Crush Saga, Farmville, etc. have been spared and remained available to Singapore-based players.

As from February 2nd, 2015, everyone who violates the prohibition for participating in online poker activities faces either a fine of $5,000 or up to 6 months behind the bars, or both.

The penalties are even more severe to organizers of illegal gambling activities. Operators that violate the rules are subject to fines that exceed $500,000. Imprisonment of 7 years is also among the penalties.

If illegal online operators have an assistant, they also risk paying solid fines and spending up to 5 years in prison.

Despite the lack of online gambling options in Singapore, the breaches in the law allow players to participate in gambling activities provided by foreign operators from the comfort of their homes. The number of online casinos, accepting Singaporean players is constantly growing and the majority of them maintain Chinese and Malay translation.

However, the complete prohibition of remote gambling options raised the question about the expansion of the gray markets. The ban was imposed with the aim of protecting minors and people prone to gambling addiction but the free access to unregulated markets is considered even more dangerous as not identity verification is required.
Bearing this factor in mind, it would be better if Singapore-based players have access to a certain range of remote gambling options.

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