Remote Gambling Act  in SingaporeIn October 2014, the Singapore Parliament passed the Remote Gambling Act into law and it came into force last month. This new legislation has placed many restrictions on online and mobile gambling. The laws effectively make online gambling illegal in Singapore and they have an effect on every area of the online gambling industry including players themselves, online casino operators, advertisers, banks and financial services and internet service providers.

Some exemptions

Initially it was thought that only non-profit companies based in Singapore could be exempt from the new Remote Gambling Act. However the Singapore Media Development Authority later clarified several points about the new laws. Online games where the players do not win actual money prizes are to be exempted. Online gambling is banned and casino type games are specifically prohibited. Games where players can win actual money or prizes are not forbidden as long as there aren’t any casino style games involved. Online games such as Candy Crush or the popular Farmville do not come under the terms of the Remote Gambling Act at the moment. The Media Development Authority has reassured those involved in the social gaming market that these games will not be forbidden by the Act.

Huge number of online gambling web sites blocked

The Singapore authorities made it very clear that the Remote Gambling Act would cover everyone involved in online gambling and that the laws would be strictly enforced. True to their word, they had several hundred online casino sites blocked in the first week that the new gambling act came into force. The Singapore Ministry of Home affairs said that the blacklist of blocked websites would not be made available to the public. The list is to be regularly updated. The authorities have worked with ISPs to block the illegal online gambling sites and with Singapore’s banks to block finance for online casinos.

The Ministry of Home Affairs in Singapore has stated that the Remote Gambling Act has been put in place to help protect young and vulnerable people from the possible negative effects of online gambling. The new laws have also been designed to help “maintain law and order”. A Singapore citizen who takes part in online gambling could face a hefty fine or a prison sentence of up to six months.

The new Remote Gambling legislation complements the strict laws governing Singapore residents and gambling in general. Residents of Singapore must pay a levy if they wish to enter land based casinos in the country. The casino levy usually allows access for 24 hours although an annual pass can be bought too. While gambling in a land based casino is legal it is now against the law to gamble in an online casino for those living in Singapore.