new centralized gambling regulator will be established by 2021 to oversee the entire gambling landscape in Singapore, in a move that will consolidate and optimise resources under one single agency, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in a news release on Friday. Within the same period, MHA will also review and amend legislation pertaining to gambling.
The Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) will be a statutory board, and will be reconstituted from the current Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA). It will consolidate and optimise gambling regulatory resources within a single agency, allowing the authorities to stay abreast of gambling trends and take a more holistic approach to policies and issues.
Currently, different government agencies oversee various aspects of gambling, with the CRA regulating the casinos, and the MHA's Gambling Regulatory Unit regulating remote gambling services and fruit machines, The Straits Times reports. The Tote Board governs all land-based gambling services operated by Singapore Pools.
The GRA will work with the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the National Council on Problem Gambling, among other partners, to address gambling issues. The police will continue to crack down on illegal gambling.
The MHA said it will also review and amend gambling-related legislation by 2021, to ensure that gambling-related legislation keeps pace with the evolving landscape. Technology has made gambling more accessible, and changed the way people gamble. Businesses have thus evolved to introduce gambling elements in products not traditionally seen as gambling, said the MHA. Legislation will be amended to ensure that regulatory mechanisms can address such evolving gambling products and models, said the ministry.
"For example, we will study the need to regulate products such as 'mystery boxes'. We will also review the penalties for offences to ensure consistency across remote and terrestrial gambling," it said.
It will engage other stakeholders like gambling operators and religious organisations to take in their views in the coming year. "Even as we update our laws, MHA will retain a generally prohibitive stance towards gambling, and continue to maintain a risk-based regulatory approach towards existing gambling operators."