Govt moves to curb remote gambling in Singapore

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Govt moves to curb remote gambling in Singapore

Postby DM101 » Thu Nov 28, 2013 3:56 pm

It's coming...



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SINGAPORE — Online gambling is set to become illegal in Singapore, with Second Home Affairs Minister S Iswaran announcing today (Nov 28) that the Government intends to restrict remote gambling unless specific exemptions are in place.

New laws will be introduced to allow enforcement agencies to act against those who provide or facilitate remote gambling, which is gambling via the Internet or any communication device, such as a smart phone. Gambling websites and payments to remote gambling operators will be blocked, and advertisements promoting remote gambling will be banned.

The objective is to impede access to such platforms and “send a clear signal of the regulatory stance in Singapore”, said Mr Iswaran.

Singapore currently does not have any specific laws to deal with remote gambling.

Some jurisdictions like Hong Kong have allowed a limited form of remote gambling through a strictly-regulated authorised entity. Mr Isawaran said authorities here will consider similar provisions carefully.

Mr Iswaran said there is concern over remote gambling for several reasons.

For one, it’s ubiquitous and easily accessible. A survey by the Home Affairs Ministry of some 1,000 Internet users showed that almost three in 10 had gambled remotely at least once in the past year. The nature and design of the games, especially poker and casino-type games, also lend themselves to repetitive play and addictive behaviour.

Mr Iswaran added that remote gambling operations can potentially become a source or conduit of funds for other illegal activities and syndicated crime.

Some analysts estimate that the size of the remote gambling market in Singapore could be US$300 million (S$376.4 million), and it is expected to grow by 6-7 per cent annually.

There will be a public consultation exercise with various stakeholders before the law is in place.

Source: todayonline

Already known for putting the ‘strict’ in ‘restrictions’ on letting its residents access its two land-based casinos, Singapore is preparing legislation to formally outlaw online gambling in the city-state. On Thursday, Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran (pictured) announced that the government wanted to send “a clear signal” that it would no longer tolerate its residents patronizing online gambling sites, which “can potentially become a source or conduit of funds for other illegal activities and syndicated crime.” (Yes, much like banks. Ban the lot, Singapore!)

This move wasn’t completely unexpected. In May, Iswaran told attendees at the Casino Regulatory Authority’s annual workplan seminar that online gambling was a “potentially more addictive form of gambling” than its land-based counterpart. Earlier this week, Channel News Asia published an interview with a problem gambling counsellor in Singapore who claimed 45% of his 2012 clientele were there for online gambling, up from 40% in 2011, and thus ‘tougher measures’ were needed to deal with the situation. A survey of 1k internet users by the Home Affairs Ministry revealed that some 30% of respondents had gambled online at least once in the past year.

Iswaran said the new laws could include IP-blocking of online gambling sites, requiring financial institutions to stop processing online gambling transactions and banning all forms of online gambling advertising. The authorities would also be empowered to move against what the Straits Times described as “facilitators, intermediaries and providers” of online gambling services.

The government intends to hold a public consultation with stakeholders prior to crafting its new legislation. The laws may make exceptions for certain types of online gambling, provided they are offered in limited form by a state-authorized entity. Channel News Asia cited Hong Kong as an example of how this might work, which suggests something similar to the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s monopoly offering – horseracing, football betting and lottery sales – could yet find a home in Singapore.

Source: http://calvinayre.com



SINGAPORE: Singapore authorities are moving to restrict remote gambling activities in the country.

Remote gambling refers to gambling via the internet or any communication device, such as a smart phone.

Announcing this on Thursday, Second Minister for Home Affairs S Iswaran said remote gambling will be made illegal unless there are specific exemptions.

Speaking to local and international industry players at a symposium on casino regulation and crime, Mr Iswaran said there will be new laws to give enforcement agencies the powers to act against facilitators, intermediaries and providers of remote gambling services.

Measures will be introduced to block access to gambling websites, block payments to remote gambling operators, and prohibit advertisements promoting remote gambling.

Associate Professor Hannah Lim from Nanyang Business School said: "I think it's more comprehensive than any other jurisdiction has ever attempted. Many jurisdictions have started off at attempting to ban and some still do.

"Many states in the US still do ban internet gambling but they've never backed it up with technical measures. And if you don't back it up with technical measure, it's not going to be effective.

While such measures may not be foolproof, Mr Iswaran said they will impede access to remote gambling platforms and send a clear signal on the regulatory stance in Singapore.

"The signal in terms of our stance is very clear and I think potential operators and those who are minded to access our market will then pay heed to these provisions," he said.

However, there may be some exemptions to allow a limited form of remote gambling through a strictly-regulated authorised entity.

Mr Iswaran said authorities here will consider similar provisions carefully.

"We are not starting on the basis that there will definitely be a provision but if at all there is to be one, we have to be very satisfied and our officials and authorities need to be convinced that first, it will be very tightly controlled that is in terms of who can get access, how it will be managed, the integrity of the system and of course for a very, very prescribed narrow range of products," he said.

Singapore currently does not have any specific laws to deal with remote gambling, and there are concerns over its social impact.

Assoc Prof Lim said: "A lot of the internet gambling websites that are unregulated, they have odds that are just practically fraudulent and we have to protect our own community."

Mr Iswaran said there is concern over remote gambling for several reasons.

For one, it's ubiquitous and easily accessible.

An online survey by the Home Affairs Ministry of some 1,000 internet users showed that almost three in 10 had gambled remotely at least once in the past year. Among them, 58 per cent are male.

They are also relatively young - 64 per cent of them are between the ages of 25 and 44.

And 75 per cent said they spent up to two hours a week on remote gambling.

The nature and design of the games, especially poker and casino-type games, also lend themselves to repetitive play and addictive behaviour.

Authorities added that remote gambling operations can also become a source or conduit of funds for other illegal activities and syndicated crime.

Mr Iswaran said: "These are very much in jurisdictions beyond Singapore. The integrity of the system, the risks they pose are well beyond our ability to control and therefore we need to make sure that this is tightly controlled in the Singapore context."

Separately, the National Council of Problem Gambling together with the Social and Family Development Ministry and Voluntary Welfare Organisations will step up its public education efforts on the ills of games that simulate gambling.

Mr Iswaran said: "The distinction between social gaming and online gambling is blurring, with some games on social media platforms closely modelled on casino-style games. These seemingly harmless games can desensitise youths to the dangers and ills of gambling."

It is estimated that the remote gambling market in Singapore could be worth some US$300 million, and it is expected to grow by 6 to 7 per cent annually.

Nothing is cast in stone yet. There will be a public consultation exercise over the next few weeks to get stakeholders to weigh in on the issue.

The new laws are expected to be in place by early next year.

Source: CNA



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The Remote Gambling Bill, introduced in Parliament on Monday (Sep 8), will help define and prohibit gambling activities via communication platforms, so as to protect young people and those vulnerable from being harmed or exploited.

SINGAPORE: A new Bill has been tabled in Parliament on Monday (Sep 8) to target the unregulated remote gambling industry. Once passed, the Remote Gambling Bill will define the activities that fall under its parameters and offer authorities with the regulatory bite to clamp down on such activities.

Remote gambling refers to gambling via the Internet, telephone or any other platform that facilitates communication. With the Bill, the authorities are moving to curb such activities, which is a space that has been left unregulated.

A search online by Channel NewsAsia showed websites that specifically target the Singapore audience, with some even offering payment through local banks.

The Remote Gambling Bill aims to target all forms of remote gambling activity - from the gambler and middlemen such as betting agents, to the operators and even syndicates. This will apply so long as part of the gambling activity takes place in Singapore, regardless of where the bet is placed or where the remote gambling operator is located.

Blocking measures are included in the Bill, which will give authorities the powers to implement website access and payment blocking.

Websites that may be blocked include those that "provide, facilitate or advertise remote gambling", while financial institutions will be instructed to block transfers to accounts linked to persons involved in unlawful remote gambling activities, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) stated.

There will, however, be exemptions to the Bill that was described as a "tightly controlled regime". Gambling operators can apply to be exempted if it meets the criteria below:

•the entity should be based in Singapore

•the entity should be not-for-profit

•the entity should contribute to public, social or charitable purposes in Singapore

•the entity should have a good track record of compliance with Singapore's legal and regulatory requirements



"Exempted entities will be subject to strict operating conditions, in the areas of social safeguards, responsible gambling, gaming integrity and law and order," the MHA stated.

The ministry studied the laws and practices of other jurisdictions, such as Hong Kong, Norway and France. A six-week public consultation was conducted, while consultations with grassroots, social services, religious and industry groups were also held and their views were considered, it stated.

IMPLEMENTING SOCIAL SAFEGUARDS

Commenting on the proposed bill, Mr Gerald Singham, Member of the National Council of Problem Gambling (NCPG), said: "What the Government is trying to do is move punters toward the authorised operators and the exemption will only apply to current activities."

For example, Mr Singham said there will be exemptions for remote gambling for horse racing, F1 racing and football betting, but this will not be extended to poker and other gaming-type activity. Observers also told Channel NewsAsia that operators like Singapore Pools and the Turf Club, which both offer telephone betting services, will apply for the exemption.

"We are hoping to implement social safeguards, through these authorised operators who have been exempted," said Mr Singham.

Studies by the NCPG showed that about a third of those who engage in online gambling tend to gamble longer, sink in more money than they had planned, and gamble more frequently.

There is also a trend with games via social media that targets the youths here, it showed. Mr Singham said: "These social games try to pass themselves off as social games but actually have more sinister objectives as they simulate remote gambling such as in the form of offering bonuses."

He added that these social games are a concern because they may look "very innocent" but can cause a lot of problems for those who are vulnerable.

Source: CNA
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Re: Govt moves to curb remote gambling in Singapore

Postby philivey » Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:31 pm

Dark clouds looming now over our local poker community...
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Re: Govt moves to curb remote gambling in Singapore

Postby qew68 » Thu Nov 28, 2013 5:39 pm

jialat ah,how sia?
Anyone can set vpn through malaysia if government really bans?
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Re: Govt moves to curb remote gambling in Singapore

Postby Rogrecal » Thu Nov 28, 2013 6:17 pm

Erm, I tot China people use VPN to overcome the chinese firewall?

To my understanding, govt is aimming at the site and the middle person(mbooker).

jia lat....
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Re: Govt moves to curb remote gambling in Singapore

Postby Brasstal » Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:13 pm

I definitely hope Poker isn't greatly affected by this.

As far as the article mentions with regards to:

The nature and design of the games, especially poker and casino-type games, also lend themselves to repetitive play and addictive behaviour. -> Responsible sites like stars have self-exclusion features and i've had several friends try hard to get themselves back on after sending an e-mail saying "I do not want to play for a year" and yeah they had no chance of playing for a year.

residents patronizing online gambling sites, which “can potentially become a source or conduit of funds for other illegal activities and syndicated crime.” -> Responsible sites as far as I know invest a lot to prevent their services in aiding and abetting money laundering activities. I've heard of many instances where accounts involved in these got their accounts closed and funds seized etc.

Assoc Prof Lim said: "A lot of the internet gambling websites that are unregulated, they have odds that are just practically fraudulent and we have to protect our own community." -> Responsible sites are vetted by big 4 audit firms to show that cards generated are truly random. And that players play against each other. The rake taken is clearly stated for all to see.

WRT to young people underage playing as far as I know sites like stars does very in-depth background checks, requiring bank statements, proof of residence and identity to be sent in before the accounts are allowed to fund themselves with real money.

I sincerely hope the game we love, live on, play seriously as a hobby does not get mixed up with the shady activities/online casinos targeted by the new laws. Unfortunately if it does we might have our version of black friday in Singapore. I'll definitely be watching closely when these laws goes into place and make the necessary arrangements to make sure I am not breaking any laws.
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Re: Govt moves to curb remote gambling in Singapore

Postby dilkkz » Thu Nov 28, 2013 11:18 pm

The B&M casinos (RWS and MBS) are greatly to be blamed for the push to ban online gambling imo. Las Vegas Sands' CEO did say that he personally wanted to ban all forms of online gambling if he could, can't remember exactly though, but the link's out there.

Personally, if Singapore does implement rules to 'curb' online gaming in general, I certainly do hope that they will follow what Denmark and the UK has done, which is allow trustworthy sites (essentially Stars) to be regulated locally, while sharing a common player pool internationally, and NOT what the US has done, which is segregate their almost non-existent player pools completely intra-state. On the plus side, if the government does what Europe is doing, hey, win-win; more tax revenue for government.

Like what Bryan has said though, hopefully poker isn't too affected by this movement, or else we'd all be playing with Bitcoins in the future.
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Re: Govt moves to curb remote gambling in Singapore

Postby Rogrecal » Thu Nov 28, 2013 11:39 pm

dilkkz wrote:The B&M casinos (RWS and MBS) are greatly to be blamed for the push to ban online gambling imo. Las Vegas Sands' CEO did say that he personally wanted to ban all forms of online gambling if he could, can't remember exactly though, but the link's out there.

Personally, if Singapore does implement rules to 'curb' online gaming in general, I certainly do hope that they will follow what Denmark and the UK has done, which is allow trustworthy sites (essentially Stars) to be regulated locally, while sharing a common player pool internationally, and NOT what the US has done, which is segregate their almost non-existent player pools completely intra-state. On the plus side, if the government does what Europe is doing, hey, win-win; more tax revenue for government.

Like what Bryan has said though, hopefully poker isn't too affected by this movement, or else we'd all be playing with Bitcoins in the future.




with bitcoins? but essentially we still need a site to play at right?

Sorry, tbh i have zero knowledge on Bitcoins poker
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Re: Govt moves to curb remote gambling in Singapore

Postby dilkkz » Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:35 am

Rogrecal wrote:
with bitcoins? but essentially we still need a site to play at right?

Sorry, tbh i have zero knowledge on Bitcoins poker


yes bitcoins, because the government can't possibly control a fiat currency, or at least to the best of my knowledge. that's what the US players are doing now, either that or playing on illegal sites like Carbon, Lock and Bovada.

the spokesperson for sg's govt said they might use IP address blocking, not exactly an IT whiz but that doesn't sound too comforting.

Imo, essentially if Stars (with an international player pool) is regulated by the sg govt, 99%, if not all of us, wouldn't be worrying about this at all.
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Re: Govt moves to curb remote gambling in Singapore

Postby Rogrecal » Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:40 am

dilkkz wrote:
Rogrecal wrote:
with bitcoins? but essentially we still need a site to play at right?

Sorry, tbh i have zero knowledge on Bitcoins poker


yes bitcoins, because the government can't possibly control a fiat currency, or at least to the best of my knowledge. that's what the US players are doing now, either that or playing on illegal sites like Carbon, Lock and Bovada.

the spokesperson for sg's govt said they might use IP address blocking, not exactly an IT whiz but that doesn't sound too comforting.

Imo, essentially if Stars is regulated by the sg govt, 99%, if not all of us, wouldn't be worrying about this at all.



LOL, i went to learn internet blocking from my friend due to this incident.

Basically IP blocking is blocking the website de IP address lor, so when you reach that specific address you get bounced to MDA blocking page or error 404( like what they did to pornsites)

This can be bypassed(by right) with VPN but US players got their funds freezed and waiting for legal actions ( the highest amount I read was 24k USD)
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Re: Govt moves to curb remote gambling in Singapore

Postby MikeTheFish » Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:06 am

There will be a public consultation exercise with various stakeholders before the law is in place.

who the heck are the various stakeholders ?
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Re: Govt moves to curb remote gambling in Singapore

Postby dilkkz » Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:09 am

MikeTheFish wrote:There will be a public consultation exercise with various stakeholders before the law is in place.

who the heck are the various stakeholders ?


I'm guessing the people who own RWS and MBS, which are probably the worst people to consult imo
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Re: Govt moves to curb remote gambling in Singapore

Postby DM101 » Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:33 am

MikeTheFish wrote:There will be a public consultation exercise with various stakeholders before the law is in place.

who the heck are the various stakeholders ?


Yeah, I am wondering who are they too.

Perhaps they should also approach us for consultation IMHO.
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Re: Govt moves to curb remote gambling in Singapore

Postby Clonz » Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:54 am

Hey Bryan , I think as the representative of pokerstars team asia and singapore... you should help to represent us and ps to faciltate understanding with the govt.

Nothing is cast in stone yet. There will be a public consultation exercise over the next few weeks to get stakeholders to weigh in on the issue.

The new laws are expected to be in place by early next year.


There seems to be a chance to voice out through public consultation exercise... I think it is important for Bryan to contact pokerstars and to tell them about the situation so that they can provide you with the necessary data backup or specialist help to show how poker is different from other casino games where skills can prevail to overcome the rake. Although sg online poker market isn't big enough but if singapore were to go down this route of a blanket ban....i am sure other copycats govt in asia may emulate sg...(There are reasons for ps to put in the effort and help)

There is one player gosubay been earning quite a bit thru playing 1000NL online. I think it's important to pool all these examples to show Gov't there is obvious differences between online poker and those degen uncles and aunties queueing up for TOTO and gambling on stupid house casino games....Poker has an element of calculated risk and rewards which is possible to beat the rake (+EV) while house games is always -EV unless you cheat.
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Re: Govt moves to curb remote gambling in Singapore

Postby Clonz » Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:07 am

Hey guys,

We need to get out point across....I think it is important to get some credible representatives(online/live success poker players not degens currently i can only think of Gosubay and Bryan) to voice the views. Please help to spread the message and we need all the SG online poker pros to properly represent and give their view.....if possible must get pokerstars and their game specialist for help.

https://www.facebook.com/IswaranWestCoast


There is a wall post in there regarding about the ban
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