Newly enacted legislations in Singapore have established a single regulatory authority for all forms of gambling, and have updated gambling regulations to protect the country from potentially harmful emerging trends.
Establishment of the Gambling Regulatory Authority
The Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Act (“GRA Act”) which came into force 1 August 2022 has tasked the new Gambling Regulatory Authority (“GRA”) with regulating all forms of gambling in Singapore. The GRA is empowered to issue licenses for gambling services, and ensure that licensees are both deserving of licenses and accountable for breaches of regulations.
The GRA now takes on the roles of several distinct authorities such as the Casino Regulatory Authority, the Gambling Regulatory Unit of the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Singapore Totalisor Board, all of which regulated gambling of different forms and in different environments.
The GRA will work closely with the Ministry of Social and Family Development, the National Council on Problem Gambling, and the Singapore Police Force, among others, in protecting Singapore from gambling.
Introduction of the Gambling Control Act
The new Gambling Control Act (“GCA”) also came into force on 1 August 2022, and is intended to consolidate and streamline gambling regulations in the country. The Betting Act 1960, Common Gaming Houses Act 1961, Private Lotteries Act 2011, and the Remote Gambling Act 2014 will soon be repealed.
The GCA has broadened the definition of gambling to involve betting, gaming activities, and participating in lotteries, among other things. The definition of betting has also gone beyond horseracing and other sporting events, and now includes, among other things, the likelihood of anything occurring or not occurring. The definition of gambling specifically does not cover investment in financial products regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
The GCA does allow for physical social gambling to be exempted from the ambit of the GCA, so long as this is conducted in an individual’s home; the participants are family members or personal friends to one another; and the activity is not conducted for private gain and no participant obtains a benefit other than winning.
According to Desmond Tan, the former Minister of State for Home Affairs, the new legislations were introduced to address both the increased accessibility of gambling to consumers, and changes in business models which have resulted in elements of gambling now being present in video games and other seemingly innocuous products.
A version of this article first appeared on the GALA Blog. For more information, please visit http://blog.galalaw.com/.