Singapore Establishes GRA as New Gambling Laws Take Effect
- The Gambling Control Act bans proxy gambling and underage gambling in Singapore
- The law allows social gambling among family and friends in homes, but not online
- The country’s gambling market will now be overseen by the new Gambling Regulatory Authority
Proxy gambling is now officially prohibited in Singapore under new gambling laws which came into effect on Monday, August 1. Additionally, all forms of gambling will now fall under the remit of the newly-established Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA).
Gambling Control Act Comes into Effect
The ban on proxy gambling is part of the Gambling Control Act initially approved in March which was designed to strengthen the country’s betting laws. From now on, those caught running or facilitating proxy gambling could face a fine of up to SGD10,000 (US$7,240), or a one-year jail sentence. In serious cases, both penalties could be handed down to the perpetrator.
The new law also criminalizes underage gambling, and individuals found to participate in gambling with minors, play on behalf of minors, or assist and aid an underage person to gamble will face up to six years in prison, or a maximum fine of SGD300,000, or both. The law applies regardless of whether the crime was committed with legal or unauthorized operators.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Gambling Control Act implements a three-tier penalty structure for gambling offenses, either physical or online. This means the severity of the penalties will vary if the offender is a gambling operator, an agent, or a punter. The operators will receive the highest penalties, followed by agents, and then punters.
The Gambling Control Act also legalizes social gambling among family and friends in homes, but not on online platforms as it would be difficult to establish the relationship of individuals involved in the online activity. Those seeking to exploit this exemption to operate illegal gambling activities will be dealt with by the authorities.
GRA to Oversee Singapore’s Gambling Market
Meanwhile, the GRA Act, which also took effect on Monday, establishes the GRA as the sole gambling regulator in Singapore. The new body will oversee all forms of gambling in Singapore and will manage the country’s licensing regimes.
Operators involved in betting and lottery, private gambling, and gaming machine rooms with slots can now apply for a license from the GRA. The agency will ensure that license holders are fit and proper to offer gambling services. On top of that, the GRA can also issue class licenses for lower-risk gambling products.