Singapore: Calls for complete Ban on Remote Gambling

Singapore – A lawmaker in Singapore called on Tuesday for a complete ban of remote gambling.

Speaking on the second reading of the Remote Gambling Bill, Member of parliament Denise Phua said that the government should not send the signal to Singaporeans, that “remote gambling is fine as long as it is under a state license.”

She said that she fully supported the move by the government to tighten the remote gambling sector, and that it is time for the republic to “take a bold step and reject gambling, whether remote or on-site.”

“When will Singapore wean itself off the casino industry, reduce the casinos from two to one to nil, especially in the light of new potential entrants such as Japan and other Asian countries? ” she said.

Phua said that Singapore had made the decision ten years ago to introduce two licensed casinos, known as integrated resorts together with shopping malls and hotels, for the sake of jobs in an economic recession, but that it is time now for the government to “discourage gambling as an economic or social activity.”

“With the tightening of foreign labor in Singapore, the casinos now become competitors for manpower from our local SMEs (small and medium enterprises). If manpower is so precious, why would we divert precious manpower to learn the casino business, whether in physical establishments or online?” Phua said.

Phua also called for more to be done to discourage gambling by local residents. She proposed that casino entry fees be raised from 100 Singapore dollars (about 80 U.S. dollars), and to change casino entry to an opt-in system so that only those who wish to gamble sign up.

Second Minister for Home Affairs S Iswaran said in parliament on Tuesday that Singapore will not ban remote gambling completely but that the approach to it will be similar to that to regular gambling.

“We prohibit gambling, unless it is specifically allowed for by way of a stringently regulated exemption or license,” Iswaran said.

“We will adopt a similar approach to remote gambling. We aim to achieve this policy intent through a combination of new legislation, stepped up enforcement, and enhanced public education and engagement.” Source: Xinhua