Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Became Operational on August 1, 2022
SINGAPORE (August 1, 2022) — The Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Act (GRA Act) and the Gambling Control Act (GC Act) were passed in Parliament on 11 March 2022. Both Acts will take effect on 1 August 2022.
2. The GRA Act expands the mandate of the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA), by reconstituting the Statutory Board to establish the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) to regulate the entire gambling landscape in Singapore.
Establishment of the GRA as a Single Regulator of Gambling
3. The GRA Act establishes the GRA as the single regulator for all forms of gambling in Singapore. This allows the Government to more effectively stay ahead of technological and gambling trends, respond more adequately to emerging gambling products, and take a more holistic and coherent approach to gambling policies.
4. The GRA will be operational from 1 August 2022, with the commencement of the GRA Act. The GRA will work with the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) to protect Singaporeans from the harms of gambling, while the Singapore Police Force (SPF) will continue to enforce against illegal gambling activities.
Amendments to Gambling Legislation
5. Our gambling laws have been updated and harmonised under the GC Act. The Act also consolidates unlawful gambling offences and regulation of gambling (other than casinos) under a single Act. The Betting Act, Common Gaming Houses Act, Private Lotteries Act, and Remote Gambling Act will be correspondingly repealed.
Risk-Calibrated Approach to Regulating Gambling
6. The GC Act regulates gambling activities in a risk-calibrated approach, as follows:
(a) Licensing Regimes. The GC Act will allow GRA to issue gambling operator licences for gambling services such as betting and lottery, gaming machine rooms, and gambling in private establishments. The GRA will ensure that licensees are fit and proper to offer gambling services and hold licensees accountable for the conduct of gambling.
(b) Class-Licensed Activities. The GC Act will introduce class licensing regimes for lower-risk gambling products, such as business promotion lucky draws. While operators offering such activities do not need to be individually licensed by the GRA, they must meet the requirements of the class licence, before offering the relevant activity.
(c) Social Gambling among Family and Friends. The GC Act will allow social gambling among family and friends in homes. However, this allowance for social gambling in homes, will not be extended to online platforms, given the practical difficulties in establishing the relationship of individuals in the online context, and whether an online gambling activity is really social gambling among family and friends. The SPF will take enforcement action against criminal syndicates that seek to exploit this exemption to conduct illegal gambling activities.
Updated Penalties and Offences to Deter Unlawful Gambling Activities
7. The GC Act applies a three-tier penalty structure for unlawful gambling offences (both online and physical), which differentiates between punters, agents, and operators. The highest penalties will be imposed on operators, as their culpability is highest, followed by agents and then punters.
8. Penalties for unlawful gambling will be enhanced, to send a strong deterrent signal to criminal syndicates. Proxy gambling in casinos and gaming machine rooms will be criminalised.
Enhanced Social Safeguards to Protect Vulnerable Persons
9. It will be a criminal offence under the GC Act for under-aged individuals to gamble, regardless of whether with licensed or unlawful operators and for under-aged individuals to enter gambling areas, except where entry checks are not required, such as at Singapore Pools’ physical outlets. These outlets are open areas with easy access and under-aged individuals may unknowingly enter without the intention to gamble.
10. Similar to how it is currently an offence for excluded individuals to enter and gamble in casinos, the GC Act will make it an offence for excluded individuals to enter and gamble in areas, across all online platforms and physical locations, where NCPG exclusions are applicable, namely gaming machine rooms and Singapore Pools’ online gambling platform. This does not apply to individuals under Self Exclusion, to avoid deterring individuals from applying for this exclusion.
SOURCE: Ministry of Home Affairs.