Singapore’s PAP government one of the strictest purveyors of anti online gambling/betting laws in the world, could open its market to legalised sports betting by allowing the Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club to seek exemption of its Remote Gambling Act (RGA).
The Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs has confirmed that the governance of both state owned gambling enterprises have applied to be exempt from current online laws and open betting markets to Singapore consumers.
Singapore Pools appears to be pushing hard for its exemption, having been linked with leading sports betting systems developer OpenBet.
Local business news sources have reported that OpenBet will conduct workshops to advise Singapore regulatory bodies. However a spokesperson for Singapore Pools commented: “OpenBet is not offering advisory services, but was contracted as one of several vendors to develop a new sports betting system for Singapore Pools.”
Since then the operator has announced a seven-year contract with OpenBet for the provision of sports betting products and services. OpenBet was selected from an open Expression of Interest (EOI) exercise initiated by Singapore Pools in February 2014 to replace its ten-year-old sports betting system.
“Signing with Singapore Pools is a landmark win for OpenBet, one which affirms the company vision and direction, and our role as a global leader in major regulated gaming markets,” said OpenBet CEO Jeremy Thompson-Hill.
Founded in 1968, Singapore Pools provides legal lottery and sports betting in a secure, trusted and efficient manner to combat loss of revenue to unauthorized gambling operators, and channel the proceeds to good causes and charity. It is 100% owned by the Tote Board which reports to the Ministry of Finance and has a product portfolio of the lotto game TOTO, pre-printed lottery game The Singapore Sweep, numbers game 4D, as well as football and motor racing sports betting.
The MHA is set to evaluate the operator’s requests for exemption, a process that could take up to 12 months to review. Singapore ministers have stressed that any gambling or betting activity must be operated for the benefit of Singapore’s society and that social safeguards must be met to protect the underage and vulnerable.
In February the Singapore government introduced a tough RGA code, which introduced strict new measures in curbing online gambling activities. The Singapore authorities can stop access to remote gambling operators by ISP blocking, through banking transactions.
Furthermore the government outlined that it would attach severe criminal punishments to operators deemend to be targeting Singapore consumers remotely.