Allowing two local lottery operators to offer online betting provides a regulated and safe alternative for gamblers, said Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin.
His comments came as a response to the criticism that the decision to regulate online betting is in conflict with Singapore‘s Remote Gambling Act (RGA). As of 1st of October punters in Singapore are allowed to bet online through two operators: Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club. The opponents of the decision claim that such move is sending “confusing and conflicting signals”.
Responding to his critics, Tan Chuan-Jin pointed out that regulating online betting will better protect the citizens that are drawn to these sites. He said that illegal online betting cannot be completely eradicated and in fact “is there and it is growing”.
“You can close down sites, but new sites will be set up, sometimes faster than you can close them down,” he said, according to The Strait Times. “It is a global market with a lot of money to be made, and the worst thing is that it is unregulated and there are no safety measures in place.”
The Minister said that the decision to exempt two operators was inspired by the examples in Norway and Hong Kong, which also allow a small number of legal betting operators. Tan Chuan-Jin claims that such technique will enable the government to spot and effectively moderate any problems before they have a chance to grow.
“If we don’t have this environment, what it means is that those who seek to bypass existing bans that are in place will then operate in a place that is completely unfettered,” the Minister said. “And I think that is quite dangerous, because they are exposed to criminal elements as well, over and above the social ills that come with gambling. So it is really a combination of these measures that we think would be one way to deal with the potential growing problem.”