The Ministry of Home Affairs loosened Singapore’s strict online gambling ban but only for two companies with tight connection to the state.
As we previously reported, Singapore-based lottery operators were testing their online interfaces, pointing towards a change in the country’s gambling laws. The Strait Times suggested that online betting might become available as soon as the first half of October. The news proved to be true, as on 29 September, the Ministry of Home Affairs confirmed that two operators – Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club – will be authorized to offer online gaming services.
While this is amazing news to Singaporean players, it still isn’t what most of them were waiting for. The mentioned operators are still not allowed to offer casino-style gambling, such as slots, blackjack, or poker. This approach is similar to that of Norway and Hong Kong. “While our blocking regime is one of the most comprehensive in the world […] it is not straightforward to eradicate remote gambling totally,” commented the Ministry.
What’s the reason behind easing Singapore’s online gambling ban?
The loosening of Singapore’s online gambling ban was a conscious step to avoid the expansion of illegal online gambling. “A complete ban would only serve to drive more remote gambling underground, making it harder to detect,” and the Ministry’s aim is to create “a tightly-controlled exempt operator regime [that mitigates] such concerns.”