Under the mandate of the Casino Regulatory Authority, Singapore has announced plans to develop a new Gambling Regulatory Authority by 2021, as it aims to integrate its betting and gaming bodies under a single body.
It is hoped that this will allow GRA to become more competitive in tech and global trends, and to react more quickly to emerging goods, while taking a more holistic approach to gambling policies and questions.
The Ministry declared: “To ensure that our laws and regulatory approach towards gambling keep pace with the evolving gambling landscape and remain effective, MHA will be reviewing and amending gambling-related legislation by 2021.
“Gambling regulation in Singapore is currently overseen by various Government agencies. CRA regulates the casinos, while the Gambling Regulatory Unit in MHA regulates remote gambling services and fruit machines. The Singapore Totalisator Board governs terrestrial gambling services operated by the Singapore Pools.
“The Singapore Police Force takes enforcement action against illegal gambling activities. In addition, the Ministry of Social and Family Development is responsible for social safeguards to address the harms of gambling, and also regulates the advertising and promotion of gambling, as well as the Responsible Gambling Programmes of regulated entities.”
The ministry went on to say that gambling related crimes remain low in number and that problem gambling is “under control.” According to the ministry, casino crimes amounted to less than one percent of overall statistics, and the number of people arrested for illicit gambling decreased by 28 percent from 2011 to 2019.
Probable rates of pathological and problem gambling have stayed constant over the past five years, at fewer than one percent. However, the Ministry says there are “emerging trends,” such as the technological transition that allows more exposure, which can have a “significant impact” on the gambling landscape.
The Ministry also added: “MHA will review and amend all gambling legislation by 2021 to ensure that our regulatory mechanisms can effectively address evolving gambling products and business models. For example, we will study the need to regulate products such as ‘mystery boxes’.
“We will also review the penalties for offences to ensure consistency across remote and terrestrial gambling. Even as we update our laws, MHA will retain a generally prohibitive stance towards gambling, and continue to maintain a risk-based regulatory approach towards existing gambling operators.
“As part of the upcoming transformation in the gambling regulatory landscape, MHA will engage key stakeholders to take on board their views in the coming year. These include gambling operators, religious organisations, social service agencies, and members of the public.”
Macau is now the only place in the Asia-Pacific region with casinos still operating, as Singapore announced over the weekend that its integrated casinos, Marina Bay Sands and World Sentosa Resorts, will shut down nearly all of its services for a month from tomorrow.