The Government of Singapore is to enhance its efforts against illegal gambling and problem gambling during the period of 2022 World Cup in Qatar from November 20th, 2022 to December 18th, 2022.
The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a statement revealing that Singapore Pools Pte Ltd is the only gambling company licensed to offer sports betting and lottery services on the territory of the country. So, under the Gambling Control Act (GCA) of Singapore, anyone who offers unlawful gambling services will be held responsible on conviction for a fine worth up to SG$500,000 and an imprisonment sentence of up to seven years. Any repetitive offenses may result in monetary fines of up to SG$700,000 and an imprisonment sentence of up to 10 years.
Now, two ministries in Singapore – the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Social and Family Development – are set to make sure that gambling services and activities are only available at licensed venues across the country, and that law enforcement authorities stay vigilant and are ready to act against any companies or individuals who violate the Gambling Control Act. In a joint statement, the two ministries said that the police would take strong enforcement action in order to prevent and deter persons from taking part in or drawing profit from unlawful gambling activities on the territory of Singapore.
The competent authorities have revealed that they already detained 24 men and five women for being suspected of involvement in the provision of illegal online gambling services. The police seized computers, mobile phones, various gambling-related documents, as well as SG$790,000 in cash during the law enforcement action. Since the arrests, four of the individuals who have been taken into custody were charged.
National Council on Problem Gambling and National Crime Prevention to Be Proactive in Gambling Regulation During the World Cup
Singaporean police already collaborate with different stakeholders to make sure that local phone lines are disabled in cases when they are being used for illegal gambling and betting activities. The competent authorities are also set to block access to unlawful online gambling platforms. Ministers confirmed that the police will make sure to discover any wrongdoers’ identities and seek to bring them to justice for their actions.
So far, about 1,200 online gambling websites, 250 bank accounts and more than SG$33 million in payments associated with various gambling services have been blocked by the country’s Gambling Regulatory Authority. The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Social and Family Development revealed that the National Council on Problem Gambling and National Crime Prevention (NCPGNCP) is set to become more proactive during the upcoming football matches from the 2022 World Cup.
The Chair of the NCPGNCP, Sim Gim Guan, noted that the World Cup is a major sporting event for the world, and football fans should be able to enjoy it without the fear of accumulating large gambling debts. That is why he urged everyone to be responsible while placing bets during the period.