Singapore gambling reform bills pass first reading in Parliament
Bills that would reform land-based gambling in Singapore and establish a new regulator have passed their first readings in the country's parliament.
Under the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Act 2022, Singapore’s Casino Regulatory Authority would be renamed the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore.
It would consist of up to 17 members, all of whom would be appointed by Singapore’s Minister of Home Affairs. Each can hold their position for up to 3 years.
If passed this bill would also amend the 2006 Casino Control Act by altering the definitions of “authorised person” and “authority” among a number of smaller amendments.
The Authority would have the right to distribute, renew and revoke licences. It would also have the right to issue fines in the instance of criminal conduct that violates the Gambling Control Act 2022.
If passed, this bill is set to be enforced from mid-2022.
Singapore’s Minister of Home Affairs (MHA) first announced plans to reconstruct gambling in the country in April 2020. This included plans to establish a single Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) instead of several bodies, including the Casino Regulatory Authority for casino gambling and the MHA’s Gambling Regulatory Unit for remote gambling and fruit machines.
Meanwhile, the Gambling Control Act would amend a number of sections in Singapore’s 2006 Casino Control Act, including adding definitions of what constitutes gambling and gambling operators in section 153(1) and excluded persons in section 165(6). Partaking in or offering illegal gambling services, including proxy betting, would be punishable with a fine of SGD$500,000 and a prison term of up to 7 years, while repeat offenders could receive a fine of SGD$700,000 and a prison term of up to 10 years.
Licences would be made available for several types of gambling activity including types of gaming machines, certain types of betting operations and lotteries and certain gambling facilities.
Those applying for a licence or a licence renewal would have to pay an unspecified application fee or renewal fee.
Licensees would be obligated to block excluded and underage individuals from entering a gambling institution and from partaking in gambling activities.
Both bills will have a second reading following the conclusion of Singapore’s full year 2021-2022 Estimates of Expenditure proceedings, which concern the country’s budget.
Last month Singapore’s parliament passed the Gambling Duties Act 2022, which could increase ordinary casino players revenue from 15% to 18%.