Singapore is to establish a new gambling regulator next year that will consolidate and optimise resources under one single agency.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the decision represented an acknowledgement of the makeup of the gambling market which is increasingly difficult to monitor across fragmented authorities. However, the body stressed that, despite the progress it would “retain a generally prohibitive stance towards gambling, and continue to maintain a risk-based regulatory approach.”
Gambling regulation in Singapore is currently overseen by various government agencies, including the Casino Regulatory Authority, MHA’s Gambling Regulatory Unit, the Singapore Totalisator Board, the Singapore Police Force and the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
“Overall, our gambling regulatory framework has delivered good outcomes. Gambling-related crimes remain low in number, and problem gambling is under control.
“However, there are emerging trends that can have a significant impact on the gambling landscape,” the ministry said. Technology has changed the way people gamble while business models have also evolved to introduce “gambling elements” in products that blur the traditionally rigid distinctions. The address this, the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) will be established by 2021 and will “consolidate and optimise gambling regulatory resources within a single agency”. “This will allow GRA to stay even more effectively abreast of technological and global trends, respond faster to emerging products in particular those that cut across different domains, and take a more holistic approach to gambling policies and issues,” MHA said.
The new authority will work with the Ministry of Social and Family Development and National Council on Problem Gambling; while the police will continue to enforce the laws against illegal activities.
“We will also review the penalties for offences to ensure consistency across remote and terrestrial gambling,” the MHA added.