Legislation in the island nation of Singapore has largely centered on traditional gambling, while neglecting Internet gambling. The reasons for this are simply that legislation has not yet caught up with the online gambling boom.
Presently, the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs is conducting extensive research into the gambling operations of multiple countries and jurisdictions.
The MHA does not have a standardized approach that it wishes to apply to the online gambling market, because there are many such approaches that can be taken. For example, Singapore can limit remote gambling to just one or two operators, and regulate them accordingly.
Alternatively, Singapore can go the other way and do what the United Kingdom and the European Union have done – allow complete access to fully regulated online gaming.
- There are many other approaches that can be adopted including the following:
- Extend all traditional gambling legislation to all remote gambling activities
- Allow for the introduction of new legislation that expressly caters to online gambling activity
- Differentiate between social gaming and remote gambling for the public good
The issue is further complicated by the fact that outright banning of remote gambling does not stop players from enjoying online casino games. Foreign operators, unlicensed operators or underground operations may take root. Companies simply change their URLs in order to avoid detection by the authorities.
Presently, it is not 100% clear which direction the government in Singapore will take in respect of online gambling activity. One avenue available to them is providing exclusive licensing to a single operator that is government controlled.
Singapore Pools may be that particular operator. In order to make this effective, the government will be tasked with shutting down all other operations – an insuperable tasked in the short to medium term.