MHA seeks to amend laws on social gambling, online games
The definition of gambling differs across the different laws here, but the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) intends to amend it to cover a broader scope that will be technology-neutral.
In a statement yesterday, the MHA said it is also seeking to amend laws relating to social gambling, mystery boxes, arcade games and online games later this year.
It said that because of technology, gambling products have become more accessible. As a result, the laws need a broader definition of gambling so that they can cover existing and emerging products.
The MHA noted that a broader definition may unwittingly cover products such as financial products already regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. To prevent this, the ministry said it will carve out these products from the definition of gambling.
As for social gambling, it recognises that family and friends gambling at home is a socially acceptable practice among Singaporeans. Thus, it intends to exempt such activities, provided they fulfil all the exemption criteria.
The criteria listed by the MHA are as follows: The gathering must be for a social occasion and there must be a real relationship among participants; the gambling is not for the purposes of trade or business; the activity is not for the private gain of any person other than the extent of the game's winnings; and the activity is conducted in enclosed areas of private residences, provided that participants are invitees of the owner or tenant.
But while MHA intends to exempt such activities when they are conducted in person, it proposes that online social gambling still not be permitted, owing to enforcement difficulties.
The MHA said Singapore adopts a strict but practical approach to its regulation of gambling. "It is not practical nor desirable, in fact, to disallow all forms of gambling, as this will just drive it underground and cause more law and order issues," it said.
The MHA said views and suggestions from the public are welcome, and the full report on the proposals can be found at go.gov.sg/public-consult-gambling
The public can submit feedback to MHA by Aug 10, by e-mailing MHA_Gambling_Feedback@mha.gov.sg, or by writing to the MHA at New Phoenix Park, 28 Irrawaddy Road, Singapore 329560.
The subject of their mail should be "Re: Gambling Legislation Consultation".
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