In 2020, Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced plans to overhaul the country’s gambling regulations, which will see a new regulatory authority established in 2021. The new Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) has been postponed by a few months due to Covid.
Currently, gambling in Singapore is regulated by multiple bodies, with the Casino Regulatory Authority regulating casino gambling, the Gambling Regulatory Unit of the MHA regulating remote gambling and fruit machines.
In addition to these bodies, the Singapore Police Force is responsible for enforcement of laws against illegal gambling and the Ministry of Social and Family Development is responsible for creating safeguards against gambling-related harm.
The MHA said that although these bodies have had success thus far in regulating gambling, the modern gambling landscape necessitates a single regulatory body. This will lead to the establishment of the GRA.
The Ministry said it was reviewing Singapore’s gambling regulations, with the intent to update the law by 2021 “to ensure that regulatory mechanisms can effectively address evolving gambling products and business models”.
One area the MHA said it would investigate was the regulation of loot boxes in video games. In addition, it said it would look into the penalties for regulatory breaches to ensure these were consistent across gambling verticals.
Online gambling in Singapore was banned in 2014, under the Remote Gambling Act. The Act outlaws all forms of online gambling unless it is with an accepted organization–one that has been approved of by the Government. Currently, only one establishment has the option of online gambling – Singapore Pools.
In 2016, state-owned lottery company Singapore Pools became the first and only operator to launch a legal online betting service in the country. Customers can only bet on horse races, football, and lottery games like Toto, 4D and Singapore Sweep. There aren’t any options for online poker, blackjack, roulette, or any such live casino games. You also have to be over 21 years to open an account.