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Report of the Law Reform Committee on Online Gaming and Singapore

A.

Singapore gambling laws

44

Singapore’s history of legalised but controlled gambling dates back to the

colonial days with proceeds from gambling regulations being used to fund government services like the colonial police. Since then, gambling had always been restricted with the government taking a strong stance against gambling as a business concept based on the fear of social problems and potential criminal activities that are likely to arise from it, until its recent measured change of stance. For a long time, gambling was under the strict and limited purview of the Singapore Totalisator Board (“Tote Board”) until the recent enactment of the Casino Control Act of 2006 which allowed the establishment of licensed casinos in Singapore.

(1)

Introduction

45

Singapore currently has a two-pronged approach to gambling: regulating its

operation under a limited and controlled environment with a view to benefiting society and social causes (eg, the Tote Board manages the donation of surplus funds) while prohibiting and discouraging gambling as a vice, particularly among Singaporean citizens and residents.

46

In relation to the former, gambling activities are currently regulated by the Tote

Board and more recently the Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore. In relation to the latter, there are anti-gambling statutes that criminalise unregulated gambling and laws that limit the enforcement of gambling debts (until quite recently). These will be

examined consecutively.

(2)

Singapore Totalisator Board Act (Cap 305A) (“STBA”)

47

Pursuant to the STBA, the Tote Board was established on 1 January 1988 to

oversee the operation of the Singapore Turf Club and later in 2004, the Singapore Pools as well. The Tote Board holds the legal right to “operate horseracing and totalisator operations through its agent and proprietary club, the Singapore Turf Club (formerly known as Bukit Turf Club, set up in March 1988); and 4D, Toto, Singapore Sweep and football betting through its agent and wholly-owned subsidiary, Singapore Pools (Private) Limited (acquired in May 2004).” 53

(3)

Casino Control Act (Cap 33A) (“CCA”)

48

The CCA establishes the Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore as the

industry regulator, whose functions are to maintain and administer systems for the licensing, supervision and control of casinos. This is meant to ensure that the management and operation of casinos are above board and free from criminal influence or involvement, and that measures are in place to protect vulnerable members of society

53

See the Tote Board website at http://www.toteboard.gov.sg/index.html.

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