Illegal but popular online gambling industry may become subject to heavy state prohibition in the future.
The government of the small South Asian country of Singapore has announced plans to crack down on money laundering and funding of terrorist organizations. Three government ministries dealing with financial affairs announced plans to increase regulation on certain financial sub-sectors.
While the official report stated that Singapore’s two land-based casinos are subject to sound internal governance, online gambling is one industry seen as a possible gap in regulation. In November of last year the Minister of Home Affairs cited it as potentially problematic and indicated that the government was considering banning it altogether.
Big changes being proposed, but none to date
While online gambling is illegal according to Singapore gambling laws, the government has not taken hard steps to prevent it. Proposed changes include blocking the IP addresses of gambling sites and prohibiting financial institutions from processing gambling transactions.
A few weeks later the government indicated that it is considering launching a single licensed online casino while banning the use of any other sites. Currently, no such site has been created and the only online gambling sites in Singapore operate illegally.
While the official report focused on remittance agents, money-changers, internet-based stored value facility holders, corporate service providers and pawnbrokers as industries under scrutiny, online gambling sites are also under the watchful eye of the state.