It’s anybody’s guess as to whether Singapore Pools will be able to launch its new online sports betting site in time for the Euro 2016 football tournament.
In February 2015, Singapore’s new Remote Gambling Act (RGA) took effect, prohibiting all online gambling sites except those that divert most of their proceeds to charitable and other social causes. Unsurprisingly, the new act led to an exodus of betting sites that had been serving the market.
Singapore Pools, which holds a monopoly on sports lottery products in the city-state, was given six months in which to apply for an exemption to the RGA. The company duly submitted its application last July, but was warned at the time that the approval process could take up to one year.
Fast-forward 11 months and Singapore Pools is no closer to launching its new site. This, despite less than two weeks remaining to the June 10 kickoff of Euro 2016. The Straits Times recently contacted the Ministry of Home Affairs to inquire about the state of Singapore Pools’ application, only to be told the paperwork is “currently being evaluated.”
The company’s existing site allows punters to check sports odds, but actual wagers must be placed over the phone or at one of the company’s retail points of sale. Singapore Pools’ new site, which is to be powered by betting technology stalwarts OpenBet, would allow punters to place wagers directly online.
Given the lateness of the hour, Singapore Pools’ management is likely going through antiperspirant products much faster than usual. But given that the company is hardly a stranger to local authorities, the possibility that the new site won’t launch in time – which could reduce sales during Euro 2016 and thus deprive those social causes of badly needed funds – the delay in approving the company’s application seems sketchy at best.