Singapore’s gambling regulator, the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA), will be overhauled, combining the functions of multiple branches of land-based and online casino regulation starting in 2021.
Gambling Oversight in Singapore Brought Under the Same Roof
Singapore will be overhauling its gambling regulations the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has announced, with a planned new Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) to reunite different watchdogs under the same roof starting in 2021.
The changes will be implemented next year with the re-purposing of the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA), the current casino authority in Singapore, and the Gambling Regulatory Unit, the online casino authority, merging into the new unit.
Adding to the scope and remit of the GRA, the regulator will also take up the functions of the Singapore Totalizator Board as well as the Singapore Police Force, which is responsible for enforcing responsible gambling under the supervision of the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
The news was announced by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) which remained optimistic about the prospects of the gambling industry and the results achieved this far. The MHA specifically said that only 1% of all crime in the country stemmed from gambling activities and illegal gambling had gone down 28% between 2011 – 2019.
Singapore to Stay Ahead of Emerging Gambling Technology
Commenting further on its motivation, the MHA added that new technology has made the experience vastly more accessible, bringing new challenges to the regulatory sector. One particular emphasis was on the fact that many traditional products have evolved to the point they now offer gambling, even though they are not traditional gambling.
One area where GRA will act is electronic sports and loot boxes in video games. The newly-emerging agency will also make sure to enforce penalties to operators that had been consistently breaking regulations.
In light of these changes, the MHA hopes that the GRA will help consolidate the regulatory footprint in the country and streamline gambling oversight by bringing all resources under the same roof and coordinate gambling policies.
The MHA expects to remain fairly prohibitive of gambling operations and continues to run as a regulator that tries to eliminate risk for consumers. Starting in 2015, the MHA has been busy clamping down on illegal gambling in the online sector. The increase in operations came with the Remote Gambling Act, which came into effect in 2014.
Closing Down Physical Casinos
Amid the planned gambling regulation overhaul, the country is also temporarily shutting down its casinos to combat the spread of the coronavirus, starting today, April 7. The measure will run through May 4. A number of high-profile casinos, including Marina Bay Sands, Las Vegas Sands, and Resorts World Sentosa have complied and shut down.
Singapore has only used travel restrictions so far to help combat the virus. Under the new measures, the country will also seek to restrict all non-essential services. Singapore is also responding to the virus by ussing a $33 billion economic stimulus package issued last weekend.