Two online gambling sites in Singapore have recently been granted exemptions from the Remote Gambling Act by the Ministry of Home Affairs that could open the doors for betting to be allowed again in the Asian country. The act initially came into force last February that outlaws all forms of online and phone gambling and instantly blocked hundreds of gambling websites.
Singapore Pools and Turf club are the two sites that have been given exceptions and are set to launch in October and November respectively. The exemption will then last for three years before the operators will need to reapply for a license renewal. The belief within the Singapore government is that a blanket bank would only drive online gambling underground and makes it more difficult to trace, while regulation would allow them to control it.
A report from 2015 estimated that Singapore’s online casino industry made more than $500 million the previous year, that’s a lot of money that the country has turned away since enforcing the Remote Gambling Act.
Both Singapore Pools and Turf Club will be expected to obey a number of strict rules including the enforcement of safeguards to encourage responsible gambling. In Singapore this means that nobody under the age of 21 would be allowed to open an account (unlike the minimum age of 18 in the UK) and players will be required to set a daily limit on their account. Breach of these regulations would see the operators receive a $1 million fine and have their exemption status revoked immediately.
All operators will also be expected to put systems in place to prevent money laundering and the financing of terrorism. How the operators intend to do this remains to be seen but it is understood that technology is currently in development. Sports betting will allowed, but only for football, Formula 1 and other motor racing, horse racing, Toto and 4D. Casino games will continue to be banned for the foreseeable future.