Singapore is to introduce a specific offence of “proxy gambling” as part of its new Gambling Control Bill, a piece of legislation that is designed also to consolidate existing betting-related laws for the city-state.
Singapore’s Gambling Control Bill had a first reading in the country’s parliament on Monday.
Also given a first reading on Monday, was the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Bill.
It would establish a new body of that name, as the “single regulator for all forms of gambling”. The Casino Regulatory Authority is currently the overseeing body for Singapore’s casino duopoly.
“We aim to establish the Gambling Regulatory Authority in mid-2022,” said a press release issued on Monday by Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs.
The release stated, regarding proxy betting: “This should be prohibited as the decision maker would have bypassed the entry checks put in place to screen out individuals of concern such as those under entry bans.”
The ministry added there had been a situation in 2019 where an excluded individual had asked a friend to place wagers at a gaming machine in a casino on her behalf.
“We were unable to take these individuals to task, as proxy gambling was not previously criminalised,” noted Monday’s press release.
Proxy gambling and other forms of remote wagering have been in the news recently in Asia Pacific, regarding China’s crackdown on promotion to its own citizens of so-called “cross-border gambling”, which carries criminal penalties in China.
A number of commentators has also raised the issue of whether proxy gambling – whereby a ‘proxy’ or nominated person, makes bets at a bricks and mortar casino’s gaming table, taking betting instructions from a player not physically present at the venue – meets the ‘know-your-customer’ test regarding anti-money laundering safeguards.
In June 2020, Singapore had said it was reviewing its legislative controls on casino gambling to ensure they “fully” complied with reporting standards recommended for such business by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The new legislation will also make it a criminal offence for underage individuals to gamble, “regardless whether with legal or unlawful operators”.
It will additonally be a criminal offence for underage individuals to enter gambling areas, “except where entry checks are not required”.
Under the new bill, the legal age for gambling in Singapore will stay at 21 years old, except for gambling at Singapore Pools’ physical outlets where the minimum age will remain at 18. Singapore Pools provides lottery and sports betting products.
The consolidating regulatory legislation will see the repeal of several other pieces of law: the Betting Act; the Common Gaming Houses Act; the Private Lotteries Act; and the Remote Gambling Act, said the ministry.
The ministry added it would “table on a later date, the Casino Control (Amendment) Bill to enhance the Gambling Regulatory Authority’s effectiveness in regulating the casinos, and ensure the continued relevance of casino regulations.”
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