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Is Gambling in Singapore Legal?

Asia is a massive gambling market, although most countries in Asia are strictly against all forms of gambling. However, Singapore, as one of the leading countries in the region, recognized the potential gambling could have on the welfare of all citizens but decided to keep it under strict control.

Is gambling legal in Singapore? And if yes, what forms of gambling are allowed? We will also have a look at the budding online gambling industry and its influence on the Singaporean market.

Is Gambling Legal in Singapore?

The short answer to this is yes, gambling is technically legal in Singapore. However, the full answer contains one ‘but’, because the legalization of gambling is not as straightforward as you might think.

Singapore allows gambling within its borders, but only if it’s performed under the watchful eye of Singapore Pools and Turf Club. In fact, Singapore Pools is the only lottery operator that is allowed to legally operate lottery games in the country.

Visiting Singapore Pools gives you the ability to place wagers on sports betting, horse races, and lottery games. You cannot bet on casino games, as casinos are allowed only as integrations within resorts.

Singapore has two regulatory bodies for gambling activities: the Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore (CRA) and the Gambling Regulatory Unit (GRU) that’s part of the Ministry of Home Affairs. In fact, both bodies belong to the Ministry, and each has a specific branch that it oversees. For now, the two control all gambling activity inside the country, but Singapore plans to establish a new regulatory body that would oversee all activity as one body. The new Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) is expected to be established in mid-2022. Thanks to the new Bill passed in February 2022, the new organization will be the single regulator controlling all gambling in the country.

The gambling legislation and laws concerning gaming are the Common Gaming Houses Act, Private Lotteries Act, and the Remote Gambling Act 2014.

What Games Are Legal?

As previously stated, both current regulatory bodies oversee a specific branch of gambling. The CRA directly controls casinos within resorts, while the GRU oversees remote gambling and online casino fruit machines.

That being said, it is important to note that not all casino games are allowed in Singapore. Those that are allowed include land-based games offered at giant casino resorts. Singapore has two major casino resorts: the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, which are both impressive building complexes that include hotels, casinos, entertainment shows, theme parks, and shopping and restaurant places for luxurious entertainment as well.

Slot machines are regulated by the Private Lotteries Act and are strictly allowed in designated rooms. Only societies can operate slot machines. Players can find all sorts of casinos in the resorts, including blackjack, poker, and roulette games, but only inside the designated casino lobbies.

It seems that Singapore is pushing for a change in the social gambling legislation as well. The new regulator is expected to establish an exemption for social gambling between friends and family, as well as create a licencing system for fruit machines.

For now, it is evident that a big change is underway at Singapore casinos, so it would be good to wait and see what new changes the new Singaporean gambling authority comes up with.

Online Casinos in Singapore

We’ve discussed Singaporean gambling laws, but somehow, we’ve missed online casino talks. There’s a reason for that: Singapore does not allow online casinos to work inside the country. Local casinos that want to be accessible online cannot work under current laws, which is why so many casino players in Singapore are waiting for a change in the current online casino legislation. One thing that we do know is that, even though local online casinos are not allowed, players still tend to play games online. How so? Well, the legislation says nothing of players looking to play at foreign casino sites, i.e., casino operators registered outside of Singapore. That means that players can freely join websites and play gambling games as long as it is not a Singaporean casino.

This might sound great for the players, but it’s actually not. Playing at casinos that are not regulated by local laws means punters are at risk as the operators might scam or cheat them and no one could protect them. That is why it is of utmost importance to introduce proper online gambling legislation or find casinos that are licenced elsewhere – by proven, strict gambling authorities which guarantee safety for all players.

 

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