DESPITE PROTESTS, SINGAPORE ONLINE GAMBLING EXEMPTIONS GRANTED
30th September, 2016 at 07:45:57
State-linked Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club permitted to take online wagers....but no casino-style gaming.
The issue of certain state-linked commercial organisations being granted exemptions from Singapore's tough anti-online gambling laws has been on the table for the past few months and has been the subject of opposition complaints; protest petitions and general argument (see previous reports).
On Thursday a new chapter on the issue opened when the government's Ministry of Home Affairs went ahead and granted exemptions to the Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club, allowing mainly sports wagering under tightly controlled conditions but expressly excluding casino-style gaming and online poker.
Other conditions include an age limit of 21 years for players; a requirement that players set daily limits; no gambling on credit; and the maintainance of a self-excluding facility. Advertising of remote gambling services will not be permitted.
The exemptions carry punitive penalties for breaches of the conditions; fines of Sg$1.0 million ($734,000) for every guideline breach.
Justifying the exemptions, a ministry spokesman pointed out that sports betting in Singapore is deeply entrenched, and that even a comprehensive regulatory regime has difficulty in totally blocking online gambling.
"A complete ban would only serve to drive more remote gambling underground, making it harder to detect, and exacerbate the associated law and order and social concerns," the spokesman said. "A tightly-controlled exempt operator regime mitigates such concerns."
Singapore Pools is planning to launch its online enterprise on October 25, offering lotteries for 4D and Toto, and online betting for football and Formula 1, whilst Singapore Turf Club will launch its online and mobile platform on November 15, 2016 offering horse-race betting online.
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