Online betting will become legal in Singapore under strict conditions, after the government of the city-state approved the applications of two operators: state-owned lottery company Singapore Pools (Private) Ltd; and the city’s licensed horse racing provider, the Singapore Turf Club.
Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club “have been found suitable” to be exempted from the Remote Gambling Act, said the Ministry of Home Affairs in a statement on Thursday.
Turf Club and Singapore Pools will offer online gambling for existing games and lotteries, according to the statement. Neither is allowed to offer new products without approval. Casino games and poker will not be available as online wagering products.
Singapore Pools will have online lotteries for 4D and Toto, and online betting for football and for motor racing. The Turf Club will offer horse race betting online.
Singapore’s Remote Gambling Act – which came into force in February 2015 – outlawed remote gambling activities in the city-state, including betting via the Internet. Since it came into force, “several hundred online gambling sites have been blocked,” said the ministry.
The Singapore Turf Club applied for exemption certificates in May last year, while Singapore Pools did so in July 2015. In Thursday’s statement, the ministry said it had imposed “stringent operating conditions on both entities”. They included: the need to operate on a not-for-profit basis; ensuring that their surpluses are channelled to social and charitable causes; and keeping their management and operations “free from criminal influence”.
The operators will also have to implement social safeguards, such as ensuring only those aged 21 and above are able to open player accounts and that punters are not wagering on credit. They will also be required to set daily funding and gambling limits, and to implement responsible gambling measures.
The two operators will be issued their respective exemption certificates when they launch their remote gambling services in the next two months. The certificates will be valid for a period of three years, said the ministry.
Singapore Pools said it expected to launch an “enhanced Singapore Pools Account” service on October 25. The new service would allow registered customers to place bets online. The organisation already offers betting via telephone.
“Singapore Pools sees the need to offer online service for its products not to condone or promote gambling, but as a necessary part of the nation’s ecosystem to minimise law and order concerns and social consequences of illegal gambling activities, which have now moved online,” the organisation said in a press release on Friday.
Commenting on its exemption, the Singapore Turf Club said it would be able to offer telebetting services. The company additionally stated it would be introducing a new online wagering platform, called iTote, from November 15.
The ministry said the two operators would be subject to regular audits and inspections. If either of the operators failed to comply with the conditions, they could face a penalty of up to SGD1 million (US$732,176) for each offence, as well as a potential revocation or suspension of the certificate of exemption.
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