Singapore’s Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA), the multi-sector watchdog absorbing the work that had been done by the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA), will “continue to ensure” on behalf of the city-state “that the harms of casino gambling are kept at bay”.
That is according to Teo Chun Ching, writing in his role as ultimate chief executive of the CRA, in the latter body’s 2021-22 annual report. Mr Tan has subsequently become the first CEO of the GRA. A ceremony to inaugurate the new body was held on August 16.
“Even as CRA transits into GRA to regulate other forms of gambling, our robust supervisory oversight of the casinos will continue to ensure that the harms of casino gambling are kept at bay,” stated Mr Teo.
The CRA’s ultimate chairman, Tan Tee How, outlined in the same report, the approach the CRA had already taken to maintain the probity of the city’s casino-resort duopoly, which is shared between Resorts World Sentosa, promoted by Genting Singapore Ltd; and Marina Bay Sands, promoted by Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Mr Tan – who has in turn shifted to be chairman of the GRA – said the CRA had worked closely with agencies including the Singapore Police Force, the Ministry of Social and Family Development, and the National Council on Problem Gambling, and as a result had “achieved positive outcomes” for Singapore.
Mr Tan stated gambling-related crimes “remain low” in number, and with regard to “problem gambling”, the “situation remains under control”.
He further noted: “With robust social safeguards in place, concerns of the potential harm that casinos can bring to our society have been largely allayed.”
But Mr Tan mentioned that emerging technologies and products – including ones related to online gaming, a category of gaming business mostly outlawed in Singapore – meant the city’s regulators “must stay ahead of emerging trends and developments”.
He added that in gaming categories that were permitted, the new oversight authority had “more licensees and gambling products to regulate”.
As a result, the GRA would “entrench risk management in our work and build capabilities to adopt a calibrated regulatory stance that is commensurate with the risk profile of each gambling product”.
His colleague Mr Teo gave an example of how unauthorised gaming – in various categories – would be tackled.
GRA would work with partner agencies including the Infocomm Media Development Authority and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, “to block websites that offer unlawful gambling services and financial transactions respectively”.
Mr Teo added that for those entities that were licensed, the GRA would “deepen” its use of data analytics “to complement our supervisory efforts in detecting possible non-compliances and anomalies” in such operations.
He further noted: “To encourage our officers to put their newly acquired knowledge in data analytics to good use, GRA will be developing a sandbox environment for officers to explore and test out proofs of concept in areas of work that could enhance our regulatory efficiency or effectiveness.”
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