A new centralised authority to oversee the entire gambling industry in Singapore will be established by the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2021. 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), said on Friday the ministry in a written statement.
“GRA will be established by 2021 and will consolidate and optimise gambling regulatory resources within a single agency,” stated the ministry. “This will allow GRA to stay even more effectively abreast of technological and global trends, 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 has two casino complexes: Resorts World Sentosa (pictured), 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.
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.
In Friday’s statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs said additionally that it would “review and amend all gambling legislation by 2021,” to ensure that Singapore’s regulatory mechanisms “can effectively address evolving gambling products and business models”.
Currently, the Singapore authorities have enacted different laws that oversee various gambling products: lotteries, gaming houses, casinos, and remote gambling.
“We will also review the penalties for offences to ensure consistency across remote and terrestrial gambling,” the ministry stated. It said also that it would engage “key stakeholders” like gambling operators and social service agencies to take in their views in the coming year.
“Even as we update our laws, the Ministry of Home Affairs will retain a generally prohibitive stance towards gambling and continue to maintain a risk-based regulatory approach towards existing gambling operators,” it said in its Friday announcement.
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