Singapore’s new casino and gambling law takes effect today

Published on:

Social gambling in the form of playing mahjong and poker with family and friends at homes will be legalised from Monday (Aug 1).  The Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Act (GRA Act) and the Gambling Control Act (GC Act) were passed in Parliament on 11 March 2022. Both Acts will take effect on 1 August 2022, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Sunday (July 31).

The GRA Act establishes the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) as the single regulator for all forms of gambling in Singapore. The existing gambling laws have been updated and harmonised under the GC Act. The GC Act also consolidates unlawful gambling offences and regulation of gambling (other than casinos) under a single Act. The Betting Act, Common Gaming Houses Act, Private Lotteries Act, and Remote Gambling Act will be correspondingly repealed.

Changes under the new Gambling Control Act will make it an offence for those under 21 to gamble, save for at Singapore Pool’s outlets where the minimum legal age is 18.

The Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) will take over the functions of the existing Casino Regulatory Authority and be granted more powers to regulate all forms of gambling in Singapore.

Also read: China’s crackdown on Macau casinos may have a positive impact on casinos in Singapore

Licensing Regimes:

The GC Act will allow GRA to issue gambling operator licences for gambling services such as betting and lottery, gaming machine rooms, and gambling in private establishments. The GRA will ensure that licensees are fit and proper to offer gambling services, and hold licensees accountable for the conduct of gambling.

Class-Licensed Activities:

The GC Act will introduce class licensing regimes for lower-risk gambling products, such as business promotion lucky draws. While operators offering such activities do not need to be individually licensed by the GRA, they must meet the requirements of the class licence, before offering the relevant activity.

In a statement on Sunday, MHA said this move allows the Government to “stay ahead of technological and gambling trends and respond more adequately to emerging gambling products”.

The GRA will work with the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) to protect Singaporeans from the harms of gambling, while the Singapore Police Force (SPF) will continue to enforce against illegal gambling activities, the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement on Sunday.