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Singapore to Impose Remote Gambling Ban
- September 9, 2014 By Nemanja L. -
Singapore government plans to introduce a state Bill that would ban overseas sports betting websites from offering their services to the city-state residents.
Remote Gambling Bill, filed in parliament on Monday, is designed to introduce numerous restrictions in an attempt to prevent persons in Singapore from placing sports bets at foreign websites.
All forms of remote gambling that occurs within the state will be targeted, no matter where the wagers are placed and where the operators are located.
Singaporeans Use VPN to Bend the Rules
The Bill is meant to allow the government to ban access to certain websites and block payments to online gambling operators, although the media have suggested that the use of virtual private networks (VPN) would damage its effectiveness.
People in Singapore are already using VPN services to access over 100 websites that are officially banned in the state and hardcore gamblers would certainly find a way around the latest restriction.
Under the terms of the new law, gambling on foreign websites for Singaporeans would be an offence that would see wrongdoers receive jail time or fines. Offshore operators will not be the only ones targeted by the new law, as betting agents trying to promote unregulated websites and sports betting syndicates will also be under close inspection.
Certain Operators Will Be Exempt
Gambling operators can, however, apply to be exempt from the restrictions, but only if they comply with four strict criteria, which basically state that the entity should be a home-based, non-profit organisation that works closely with the government and contribute to charity or social purposes.
Remote Gambling Bill was introduced after a public consultation that lasted some six weeks and various meetings with industry groups, religious groups and social services, while the ministry also consulted rules and regulations on gambling in other countries such as Hong Kong, Norway and France.
While the government is aware they will not be able to eradicate online gambling altogether, they hope to at least lower the number of casual gamers and deliver a blow to the illegal gambling market that is believed to be worth around $416 million.
Another important objective is to try and persuade the players to stop playing at unregulated websites and instead join authorised operators who will be exempt from the restrictions.