SOUTH EAST ASIA 18
Online easing comes with restrictions, meets opposition Calling it a “safer option” for gamblers, Singapore’s Ministry of Finance has relaxed rules on online gambling to allow the island’s two incumbent operators – Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club – to offer internet services.
he easing comes some 18 months after Singapore implemented one of the world’s most draconian bans in the online gaming sphere and was immediately met with opposition from anti-gambling and church groups. The National Council of Churches called on the government to reconsider, while the Office of the Mufti also warned about the perils of online gambling.
Asia Gaming Briefings | November 2016
Since the Remote Gambling Act came into force in February 2 last year, several hundred online gambling sites have been blocked, as well as bank accounts and credit card transactions linked to remote gambling payments. However, the blocking regime was not a sure-fire way to stop locals from accessing illegal gambling websites. “VPNs are an issue in Singapore and
not just in gambling,” said Matt Pollins of Olswang Asia, the night before the Ministry posted its announcement. “I think there is evidence to suggest people will find overseas services to use and they will use technology solutions to bypass geoblocks.” This is likely why a door was left open under Section 26 of the Act in 2015 for an eligible operator to obtain a certificate of exemption.