Ten-fold Increase of Online Gambling in Singapore

Posted on 30/06/08 - by Theodor Mavrodis News

The Singapore online gambling sector has become ten times as big as it was three years ago, in spite of the fact that gambling via foreign operators is not legal.

Around the globe there have been quite a few disputes about online gambling policy, for example between Europe and the United States.

Singapore law states that placing bets at foreign operators, which are not exonerated by the Betting Act and the Common Gaming Houses Act, is a criminal offence and can be charged with a $5,000 fine or six months of imprisonment. The only two operators which are exempt by the two anti-gambling acts are Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club. Remarkable is that neither of those two operators provides the opportunity to gamble online.

In practice this legislation implies that online gambling is illegal. Despite this fact a recent questionnaire of the Ministry for Community Development Youth and Sports, with a sample size of 2,300 people, showed that 1% of the people participated in online gambling. Just three years ago, in 2005, this percentage was only 0.1%.

Suresh Anantha, employed an institute for addictions management, finds this development alarming. She states: "People need to understand that though they may have the occasional win, over the long-term, they will lose money. That is how all gambling games work."

As the internal market does not cater for the needs of the online gamblers, people seek and will find alternatives. In this case the players avoid using Singapore credit cards, since those are not accepted by third parties such as Neteller.com or by using bank transfers directly to casino sites. Instead the Singaporese gamblers use foreign credit cards to make deposits in order to play their blackjack or roulette game.