A new, centralised authority to oversee the entire gambling industry in Singapore, is on track to be established in 2021, confirmed the city-state’s Ministry of Home Affairs in an email reply to GGRAsia.
The new body – to be called the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) – will be a statutory board and will be reconstituted from the current Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA), according to an April statement from the ministry.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs will establish the Gambling Regulatory Authority and complete the review of gambling-related legislation in 2021,” said a spokesperson in a Wednesday statement to GGRAsia.
Notwithstanding the Covid-19 pandemic, the Singapore authorities said they were pushing forward with the plans to create the new body, that will be responsible for “regulating the entire gambling landscape in Singapore”.
Singapore has two casino complexes: Resorts World Sentosa, operated by Resorts World at Sentosa Pte Ltd, a unit of Genting Singapore Ltd; and Marina Bay Sands, operated by Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd, a unit of United States-based Las Vegas Sands Corp. The city-state also has a number of clubs licensed to offer slot-machine gambling.
The Singapore authorities have said the move to consolidate regulatory functions under the GRA would ensure Singapore was “abreast of technological and global trends,” and could “respond faster to emerging products in particular those that cut across different domains, and take a more holistic approach to gambling policies and issues.”
Gambling regulation in Singapore is currently overseen by various government agencies, including the CRA regulating casinos; the Gambling Regulatory Unit of the Ministry of Home Affairs responsible for supervising remote gambling; and the Singapore Totalisator Board overseeing gambling services operated by the Singapore Pools.
Singapore’s plan to establish GRA has been described by several knowledgeable commentators as a logical step. Several of those spoken to by GGRAsia suggested that eventually, Singapore gaming legislation also might be consolidated into a single parliamentary act.
Singapore’s government announced last year it had agreed to the expansion of the city’s two casino resorts. In return for their investment – an aggregate of SGD9 billion (US$6.3 billion) – the respective operators would continue to hold a duopoly on casino gambling in the city-state through 2030, it was announced at the time.
Singapore’s tourism boss said in an August interview that it was “inevitable” there would be delays to the expansion of the city-state’s two casino resorts, due to the disruption to the construction sector wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.
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