Simon’s Guide to Online Gambling in Singapore

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This is a picture of the largest casino in Singapore, the Marina Sands Bay Hotel and Casino Resort.

Gambling & Casinos in Singapore

 

Various, traditional forms of gambling in Singapore, like horse racing, 4D, Toto, Singapore Sweep, football betting, and private lottery clubs have been gradually legalised in the country after it gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1963. However, the ban on casino gambling remained, until recently and although various proposal have been introduced for its legalisation, prior to 2004 they were routinely turned down by the government*.

In 2004, however, authorities decided to consider a proposal and launched a foray to study, how legal casino gambling could be introduced in such a way, that its financial benefits outweigh its social ill-effects. Potential benefits and and costs of the introduction of legal casinos in Singapore were taken into consideration. On one hand, casinos in Singapore are able to boost tourism, create jobs and provide revenue streams to the state. On the other hand, if controlled insufficiently, they can lead to social problems, like problem gambling and a rise in organised crime and money laundering activities.

After evaluating the proposals submitted as part of the Request for Concept, the Singapore government decided to legalise casino gambling. On April 18 2005, it removed the ban on casino gambling in Singapore, with extra provisions against social-ill effects of casinos:

  • capping the casino market at two licensed operators
  • adopting the euphemism for casino-hotels, “integrated resorts”; in practice, this also means, that the resorts can only dedicate 5% of their interior space to their casinos
  • introducing a $100 entry levy
  • establishing organisations, such as the National Council for Problem Gambling and the Casino Regulatory Authority

As Singapore loosened its casino policy, it clamped down even harder on online gambling sites in recent years. A 2014 legislation, titled the Remote Gambling Bill, effectively made all internet gambling illegal in the country, only exempting operators specifically legalised by other legislative documents or possessing a special licence.

The regulation criminalises all online gambling related activities, including:

  • Running an online gambling operation (from abroad and domestically alike).
  • Transmitting financial transactions related to online gambling in Singapore.
  • Advertising online gambling in Singapore.
  • ISPs failing to comply with ban requests from authorities.
  • And also individual players.

Players face fines of up to $5,000 and/or 6 months in prison, while other parties involved in online gambling are penalised even heavier. Any person running an illegal online gambling operation in the country, for instance, faces a fine between $20,000 and $500,000 and/or a prison sentence of 7 years**.

Singapore anti-online gambling laws are stringent, and the ban on foreign operators and bank transactions is widely enforced (it’s also reported, that the authorities are planning to ban sites with circumvention software, such as VPN-s). It is neither easy, nor advisable for Singaporean players to gamble on foreign online platforms. However, players who really feel devoted to the idea could, theoretically, find ways to do so, using independent online payment processing services and VPNs.

 

*Source: Lee Kuan Yew – School of Public Policy – Managing the Sin in Singapore’s Casinos

**Source: Parliament of Singapore – Singaporean Remote Gambling Bill of 2014

 

 

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Summary:

 

 

Casino gambling in Singapore

 

Online casino gambling in Singapore: illegal

 

Land based casino gambling was legalised in Singapore in 2005, along with strict provisions for minimising its social ill-effects. The mere two Singaporean casinos, The Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa on one of the the country’s island, Sentosa, make up the world’s 3rd most lucrative Casino Industry with a combined gaming revenue of $6.077 billion in 2013*, only topped by Macau and the Vegas Strip.

Online casinos are illegal and penalties are imposed by the Remote Gambling Bill on all stakeholders, from players to banks and ISPs, failing to comply with ban requests. Players are prosecuted.

 

*Source: Singapore casinos produce $6 billion in gaming revenue in 2013; market still trails Las Vegas Strip

 

 

Bingo in Singapore

 

Online bingo in Singapore: illegal

 

None of the two hotel casinos in Singapore appear to organize bingo to, and neither does the national lottery operate such games. This means that there is no bingo in Singapore, as no other operators are allowed to conduct land based games of chance in the country.

Playing on foreign bingo sites is illegal and even players face hefty fines and a possible prison sentence if caught gambling online in Singapore.

 

 

 

Poker in Singapore

 

Online poker in Singapore: illegal

 

Legal and licensed hotel casinos in Singapore are permitted to offer poker games to their visitors, and both of these venues operate poker tables.

However, online poker is strictly forbidden under the 2014 Remote Gambling Act. There are no legal online poker platforms in Singapore to date and even players of foreign sites could face penalties, on top of the majority of sites being blocked by ISPs.

 

 

Sports betting in Singapore

 

Online sports betting in Singapore: the only legal provider is Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club, they do not yet have a licence to operate online platforms

 

The state-backed company Singapore Pools offers fixed odds betting on football and motor races in land based betting shops across the country. It is also reported, that Singapore Pools and the company conducting all legal horse betting in the country, Singapore Turf Club (STC) have applied to be exempted from laws that curb online betting. The former has already confirmed, that it has hired British giant OpenBet, which already provides online gambling software for major bookmakers such as William Hill, Paddy Power and Betfair, to help replace its current website with one which can offer sports betting*.

The majority of foreign online sportsbooks are blocked by ISPs and banks are prohibited form handling transactions to and from such operators. Players, if caught playing on one of these, are also prosecuted and could face fines of up to $5,000 and/or 6 months in prison.

 

*Source: Legal online betting could kick off next June

 

 

Lottery in Singapore

 

Online lottery in Singapore: the only legal provider is Singapore Pools, no online platform yet

 

Singapore Pools, the company with a virtual gambling monopoly in Singapore is the organisation conducting the national lottery. It offers games, such as Lottery, Toto, 4D and the Singapore Sweep. However, the company’s licence for offering its games online is only due next year.

Foreign online lotteries are illegal and even private players face prosecution if caught playing one of these.

 

 

 

Bitcoin gambling in Singapore

 

Bitcoin gambling in Singapore: illegal

 

In December 2013, the Monetary Authority of Singapore reportedly stated that “whether or not businesses accept bitcoins in exchange for their goods and services is a commercial decision in which MAS does not intervene”.

However, authorities do intervene quite a bit if businesses conduct online gambling in Singapore. It is safe to assume, that all online gambling stakeholders, – including individual players – face the same penalties when it comes to Bitcoin gambling, as with any other kind of online gambling.

 

 

 

Online gambling websites accepting players from Singapore

Due to the widely and rigorously enforced ban imposed on online gambling in Singapore by the Remote Gambling Act of 2014, many foreign operators chose to opt-out from the Singaporean market. Some, however, still lets players from the country register on their sites.

Keep in mind that if you are caught playing online from Singapore you will be fined or in extreme cases jailed. Be aware of the risks.

The following online casinos and bookmakers still accept players from Singapore.

 

Euro online casino

Casino Euro – accepting players from Singapore

black_lotus_casino_bonus

Black Lotus casino accepting players from Singapore

 

 

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This page is part of Simon’s List – Legal Status of Online Gambling – a definitive guide to the legal status of all forms of online gambling activities in every country around the world.

 

Last updated: 2015. 11. 02.

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Simon's Guide to Gambling and Casinos in Singapore
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Simon's Guide to Gambling and Casinos in Singapore
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This guide focuses on gambling in Singapore, Singapore's largest casino, the legal status of online casino gambling in Singapore.
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