It looks like Singapore may be banning online gaming companies from operating in the country sometime in the near future.
The news came after a speech by the country’s Second Minister for Home Affairs S Iswaran at the Third Singapore Symposium on Casino Regulation and Crime on Thursday.
Iswaran said that the Singaporean government was concerned about the potential negative effects they believed online gaming had on those who engaged in the activity. “The nature and design of the games, especially poker and casino-type games, lend themselves to repetitive play and addictive behaviour,” he said.
While he did not give particular examples of that occurring in Singapore, the minister did point out that online gaming had been rising in popularity in the Southeast Asian city-state in recent years. It is believed that the online gaming market in Singapore was worth as much as SG$376 million (around US$299.6 million).
The increasing prevalence of online gaming in the country led Iswaran to state that the government has aimed to put forward laws against online gaming by remote companies.
“As an extension of our current laws, the government intends to restrict remote gambling by making it illegal unless there are specific exemptions,” he said. “We will introduce new laws to give our enforcement agencies the powers to act against facilitators, intermediaries and providers of remote gambling services.
“We will introduce measures to block access to gambling websites, block payments to remote gambling operators, and prohibit advertisements promoting remote gambling.”
It is unclear when exactly the Singaporean government will move forward with the aforementioned restrictions, laws and measures. However, the intention to introduce them is not such a major surprise.
The country’s government resisted allowing casinos and gaming areas to be established in Singapore until the last decade. It currently implements strict rules on Singapore’s two casinos and Singaporean citizens who wish to frequent them. That history of tight control on gaming is what makes the latest aims toward banning online gaming unsurprising.