Singapore to unify gambling oversight under single agency


singapore-gambling-regulatory-authoritySingapore’s gambling operators will soon all come under a single regulatory umbrella to help the city-state keep on top of emerging gambling trends.

On Friday, Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced that it would establish a new Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) by 2021, with an eye to “consolidate and optimize gambling regulatory resources within a single agency.”

The GRA will unify oversight currently handled by a variety of agencies, including the Casino Regulatory Authority, the MHA’s Gambling Regulatory Unit, the Singapore Totalizator Board and others. The GRA will work with local responsible gambling organizations while the Singapore Police Force will continue to rap the knuckles of illegal gambling operators.

The MHA also plans to review and amend the city-state’s gambling legislation to ensure the GRA has the ability to “effectively address evolving gambling products and business models.” Penalties for gambling infractions will also be reviewed “to ensure consistency across remote and terrestrial gambling.”

The MHA assured gambling-phobic locals that it “will retain a generally prohibitive stance towards gambling” while maintaining a “risk-based regulatory approach towards existing gambling operators.”

Singapore has two licensed casino operators – Las Vegas Sands (Marina Bay Sands) and Genting Singapore (Resorts World Sentosa) – while the state-run Singapore Pools handles lottery and sports betting (as well as online wagering for the Singapore Turf Club).

The MHA sought to reassure these operators that they would be among the key stakeholders – along with social service organizations and religious groups – with which the MHA plans to work as it finalizes the new GRA’s parameters.

The MHA noted that Singapore’s current framework “has delivered good outcomes,” with gambling-related crime low and problem gambling rates “under control.” But “emerging trends,” such as the ‘mystery box’ phenomenon, require period recalibrations, and here we are.