Singapore could soon see retail social gambling among family and friends legalized under new legislative measures that were proposed in the country’s Parliament at the beginning of the week.
Social gambling is not currently illegal in the country, but it is also not clearly defined in Singapore’s laws. If the proposed legislative measures are given the green light, they will establish clear parameters for what is legally acceptable within the sector and what is not.
On February 14th, the two measures called the Gambling Control Bill and the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Bill were read in Parliament. The two pieces of legislation seek to establish clearer regulations for gambling, including some newer forms of gambling services, such as video games’ loot boxes and mystery boxes.
For the time being, the gambling industry in Singapore is regulated by a number of Government agencies, including the country’s Casino Regulatory Authority, the Singapore Police Force, and the Tote Board. If passed, the two aforementioned pieces of legislation would set up a single gambling regulatory authority called Gambling Regulation Authority (GRA) that will oversee the sector.
Two New Pieces of Gambling Legislation Proposed
As mentioned above, one of the key changes that would be brought to the gambling sector of the country under the new bills, would be the legalization of retail social gambling among family and friends. No age limit would apply to the new form of gambling, but the participants will be required to be members of the same family or friends. Also, they will only be able to gamble in an individual’s home and not in a business’ premises. Online social gambling, however, will not be allowed.
Another significant change that will be made is the introduction of licensing regimes for different gambling products and services.
The Casino Regulatory Authority will serve as a major gambling regulatory body in the country in order to take over the control from the different agencies so that a single watchdog is established for major gambling products in Singapore, including fruit machines, Singapore Pools products and gambling in private establishments. According to a press release of the country’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) the GRA is set to be officially established in the middle of 2022.
The minimum age for gambling services will be set at 21, except for Singapore Pools, which will feature a minimum age of 18.
The new gambling regulatory body is also set to introduce licensing for lower-risk products, including mystery boxes, lucky draws and online games with gambling elements. Entities that offer such products will not be required to have an individual operating license but the new gambling regulator will oversee the services and will impose a maximum prize of $100 for mystery boxes in order to protect customers.
A number of new offenses will be introduced in the new pieces of legislation, such as the ones linked to underage gambling and the ones who have been excluded from gambling. Under the provisions of the new bills, operators that allow underage or excluded individuals to gamble will become subject to disciplinary action or will be liable for an offense.