Skip to main content

Singapore Inaugurates New Gambling Regulatory Authority to Ensure Better Oversight of Expanding Gambling Sector

Singapore officially inaugurated its new gambling regulator – the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) – on August 16th. The move comes at a time when the lines and differences between gaming and gambling have been blurred by the constantly changing trends in the industry.

The brand new watchdog is set to take over from the previous regulator – the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) – and will be given control over a range of gambling services within the country, including casinos, sports betting, lotteries, and loot boxes available in online video games. GRA’s predecessor was established back in 2008 as a body responsible for the monitoring and control of the two integrated resorts in Singapore – Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands.

On August 16th, when the inauguration ceremony was held, the Second Minister for Home Affairs, Josephine Teo, described the formation of the Gambling Regulatory Authority as a crucial step for gambling regulation in the country, especially considering the quickly-changing gambling landscape that is expected to change within five years.

Ms. Teo, who also occupies the position of Minister for Communications and Information, explained that technological developments have made it easier for people to gamble, no matter the time or location, with the scope and scale of online gambling constantly expanding. She further noted that the changes in customer preferences have also blurred the lines between gaming and gambling, and have boosted the interest in new gambling products. Ms. Teo further shared the number of variants of gambling, gaming, and games of chance have increased over the years, with some of them already using crypto technology and involving cryptocurrencies.

Better Regulation of Singapore’s Gambling Industry Needed amid Constantly Changing Trends

An official representative of the Gambling Regulatory Authority shared that Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs previously proposed a $100 prize cap on mystery boxes and the measure may come into effect as early as 2023. The watchdog’s spokesperson shared that the proposed cap would prevent the enticement effect that high-value items may have on customers, as well as the normalization of gambling among younger audiences.

In the next few months, the new gambling regulator is set to remain focused on streamlining its processes regarding license approvals, as the number of operating permits issued by it is expected to significantly increase. This comes at a time when the provisions of the Gambling Control Act, which took effect earlier in August, require private establishments to operate under a license allowing them to organize player-to-player games. As explained by Ms. Teo, the new piece of legislation is set to be reviewed to enhance the casino regulatory regime.

According to counselors and gaming experts, Singapore’s move to enhance gambling regulation is set to address the higher risks associated with online gambling expansion, as well as to make sure that adequate social protection measures are in place. Some local experts have noted that the easy accessibility and overall convenience of online gambling services make things worse when it comes to gambling addiction rates in the country, where online gambling takes its toll on both individuals and their families.

Gaming and technology experts have remained hopeful that online games of chance featuring gambling elements now fall under the scope of the new Gambling Regulatory Authority so that greater transparency in how such platforms operate is ensured. They believe that the new Singaporean gambling watchdog would be less tolerant of transgressions and would prevent any manipulation of game outcomes, which would tackle the harmful effects on local customers.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.