Can You Legally Take Part In Online Betting In Singapore?

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Posted: November 15, 2023

Updated: November 15, 2023

Although Singapore appears at first to be a modern forwards-looking society, if you scratch the surface you'll find it's actually very rigid when it comes to enforcing laws againgst anything deemed anti-social. This goes for gambling. Even though the government has its own platforms, for both its own citizens and visitors, the whole online iGaming industry is very tighly controlled to the point that all offshore sites are banned.

In 2014, a significant legislative update in Singapore aimed to bring clarity to gambling laws. However, the Remote Gambling Act of the same year went further by prohibiting online betting to the extent that engaging in such activities on foreign betting sites became a criminal offence. The latest gaming regulations reflect a robust effort to curtail offshore gambling platforms.

Residents are now prohibited from betting on sports, playing casino games, or participating in online poker on any Singaporean betting site. The 2014 Act empowers the government to block access to gaming websites and deposits to gaming operators. Presently, the closest semblance to legal online betting in Singapore is a sole government-owned website known as Singapore Pools. While the site doesn’t offer actual online gambling, it permits users to create accounts, place bets via phone, monitor transactions online, and receive payments to their online accounts.

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Singapore Gambling Laws

It’s important to be aware that there exist criminal laws prohibiting individual gamblers from registering and playing on online betting platforms in Singapore. Despite this prohibition, there is a plethora of options available for online sports betting, poker, and casino games. While we don’t endorse engaging in online gambling under these circumstances, we will provide an overview solely for informational purposes.

If you decide to take the legal risk, here at Gamingzion.com we strongly recommend sticking to well-established names in online betting like King Billy Casino. Opting for reputable operators is crucial, as there is no need to venture into smaller, unfamiliar betting sites with questionable backgrounds when numerous established platforms, primarily based in European countries where online gambling is legal, licensed, and regulated, offer a track record of providing a safe and fair gaming environment over the long term.

The Effects Of Currency Exchange

Apart from the legal uncertainties surrounding online gambling in Singapore, another drawback is the need to navigate currency exchanges. Given the absence of legal Singapore online casinos, every site operating from elsewhere involves transactions in various currencies. While it’s possible to make deposits in Singapore dollars, playing the games using SGD is not allowed. All deposits are eventually converted into USD, EUR, or GBP.

online betting in Singapore
Picture Source: Flickr

If you opt for a site accepting SGD deposits, funding your account can be done through credit cards, direct bank transfers, and e-wallets like Neteller, Skrill, and Click2Pay. For sites not accepting SGD, using an e-wallet to convert your money before depositing is an option. Although dealing with currency exchange fees can be inconvenient, it’s a more favourable alternative than the potential cost of paying 100 SGD merely to enter a land-based casino in Singapore.

Laws Governing Online Betting In Singapore

According to online gambling news in the UK, the existing gambling laws are notably antiquated and pertain exclusively to physical gambling establishments. The most recent legislative developments consist of a 2006 law permitting the establishment of two significant casinos and other legislation overseeing lotteries. In total, there are five pieces of legislation that oversee all forms of gambling in Singapore. These include:

  • Remote Gambling Act 2014
  • The Betting Act of 1960
  • Common Gaming Houses Act of 1961
  • Private Lotteries Act of 2011
  • Betting and Sweepstakes Duties Act of 1948
  • Casino Control Act of 2006

These bills collectively constitute the entirety of gambling legislation of online betting in Singapore. Only one of them specifically addresses Singapore online gambling, and none establish a licensing framework that would permit the operation of gambling sites within Singapore’s borders.

online betting in Singapore
Picture Source: Flickr

Consequently, the current situation deems it illegal to either operate a gaming site within Singapore or patronise one as a customer. The Casino Control Act of 2006, despite setting up a licensing mechanism for brick-and-mortar casinos, missed a crucial opportunity by not addressing the internet, even though online gaming was already widespread by 2006.

The Casino Regulatory Authority Of Singapore

The creation of the Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore (CRA) was stipulated by the same act. Its primary role is to oversee Singapore casinos, ensuring their fairness, safeguarding against criminal influence, and preventing exploitation of vulnerable individuals. Additionally, the CRA issues licences to land-based casinos.

To date, it has granted licences to two establishments: Marina Bay Sands near Marina Bay and Resorts World at Sentosa on Sentosa island. As part of the licensing agreement, these casinos must tailor their offerings to tourists and refrain from actively encouraging local residents to participate. While both casinos are obligated to admit foreigners for free, Singapore residents are charged $100 per day. In 2012, each casino incurred a $385,000 fine for allowing citizens free entry, permitting extended stays, and failing to adequately prevent minors from entering.

Singapore operates a government-run website, Singapore Pools, which allows citizens to engage in betting on specific sports, offering both online and in-person options for football and auto racing. Although its offerings are relatively limited, Singapore Pools remains popular. For those interested in betting on sports beyond what Singapore Pools provides, offshore betting sites are an alternative. Another avenue for wagering is the Singapore Turf Club, established in 1842, serving as the sole legal entity for horse racing and betting in the country. Citizens can place horse wagers with the Turf Club through in-person visits, phone calls, and mobile smartphone apps.

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Offshore Online Betting In Singapore Is Banned

In 2013, Singapore announced its intention to tighten regulations on internet and online betting in Singapore. Citing the addictive nature of online gambling compared to land-based betting, the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) considered it a potential danger to citizens. The proposed legislation included measures such as web censorship of gambling sites, regulations obliging the banking industry to block transactions to offshore betting websites, and additional restrictions on advertising.

This legislation was subsequently enacted in 2014, and the Singaporean government continues to actively discourage its citizens from participating in gambling activities. In 2014, an anti-gambling campaign faced embarrassment when ads depicting a sad-looking boy expressing hope for a German victory, as his father had bet his life savings on it, backfired after Germany’s 7-1 triumph over Brazil. Singaporeans seized the opportunity to mock the ads.

Take Care If You Choose To Gamble Online

As of the present, the status of internet online betting in Singapore remains somewhat unclear. While gaming laws clearly define it as an offence, there appear to be limited legal mechanisms in place for enforcement. Nevertheless, the potential risks are real, and caution is advised for Singaporeans considering online play. If ou are determined to gamble, then we suggest that you make use of a VPN in order to visit some of the top online casino websites in the UK. Our favourite is King Billy Casino who are happy to accept players from Singapore. Furthermore, the casino offers all new players a generous welcome bonus, as well as a huge selection of games to play.

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