Singapore’s Remote Gambling Act – which comes into force on Monday and outlaws remote gambling activities in the city-state including betting via the Internet – does not cover social games. That is provided that the game has no way for players to convert tokens or wins into cash, a government agency said on Wednesday.
The Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA), which regulates the media locally, including online media, made the clarification in a press statement.
It said: “MDA wishes to reiterate that the Act does not cover games which do not, as part of the game design, enable players to receive money or money’s worth consequent to the outcome of that game.”
The Singapore media is interpreting the statement as meaning that popular online social games such as Candy Crush – in their current form – are exempted from the ban.
“As a general rule, the Act does not prohibit mechanisms to reward players for their skill, provided that these are not within casino-style games or are not used as a means of facilitating syndicated criminal activity,” added the authority.
Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday: “The objectives of regulating remote gambling are to maintain law and order and to minimise the potential harm of remote gambling, especially to young persons and other vulnerable persons.”
The Act, passed in October by Singapore’s parliament, will from February 2 make it illegal for gamblers to gamble online or via other telecommunications channels.
Part 5 of the Act does however give some limited exemptions “in the public interest”.
It states: “The Minister may, upon the application of any person, issue a certificate of exemption that authorises the person to provide a Singapore-based remote gambling service with a Singapore-customer link of such type as is specified in the certificate.”
The state-owned lottery company Singapore Pools (P) Ltd and the city’s licensed horse racing provider, the Singapore Turf Club, which both offer telephone betting services, were likely to apply for exemptions, reported local media when the bill was first introduced in early September.
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