On August 16, Singapore inaugurated its new Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA), which will take over from the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) and will aim to practice a holistic approach toward the whole of the gambling industry, encompassing all new gambling products that are available on the market.
Establishing the New Regulator
The GRA inauguration ceremony took place on August 16 at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre. Josephine Teo, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Communications and Information held the official speech at the inauguration ceremony outlining the goals and responsibilities of the new regulator.
The GRA was established by two new acts, which were passed in the Singapore Parliament on March 11, 2022, called the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Act (GRA Act) and the Gambling Control Act (GC Act). Both came into force on August 1, 2022.
The Singapore government felt the need for a new regulator due to the changing gambling landscape worldwide, which has brought new gambling products with the development of new technologies and the blurring of lines between gambling and gaming.
GRA is taking over from CRA, which was launched in 2008 in connection with the establishment of Singapore’s two integrated casino resorts – Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa. The main task of CRA was to regulate the activities of the two casinos, eradicate any illegal gambling activities, and make sure there are protections in place in connection with problem gambling and gambling harms.
The Regulator’s Vision and Outlook
The main reason to establish a new regulator is that technology has changed how people gamble and has made gambling more accessible at any time and everywhere. The range of gambling products has also been widened tremendously and the innovations come so fast that the gaming and gambling scene changes at a very fast pace.
Therefore, GRA has been established in order to keep up with these new trends and try to keep gambling regulation ahead of the new developments. GRA is aiming for a holistic and agile approach toward the gambling sector as a whole, encompassing all in-person and online gambling products.
Following the establishment of GRA, The Ministry of Home Affairs plans to review and update the Casino Control Act.
GRA will also look to refresh the licensing regime, allowing for different classes of licenses for higher-risk and lower-risk gambling activities. As a result, a higher number of licenses are expected to be issued.
The new regulator will also make sure that adequate safeguards are in place in order to tackle the higher risk online gambling products pose for problem gamblers.
In addition, at the inauguration ceremony, it was also revealed that a prize cap of SGD 100 ($73) may be introduced for mystery box games at the beginning of 2023.