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Report of the Law Reform Committee on Online Gaming and Singapore

of the Civil Law Act shall not apply in relation to any contract entered into with a casino operator or his agent for the playing in the casino of a game that is conducted by or on behalf of the casino operator or his agent, or for the use of a gaming machine in the casino, or for the purchase of chips or chip vouchers, at any time while the casino license is in force. The court in Desert Palace itself noted that just because exceptions were made by statute for regulated gambling did not mean that unregulated gambling (ie “all other forms of gambling”) was no longer against Singapore’s public policy.

  • D.

    Singapore and online gambling

    • (1)

      Gaming and gambling events in Singapore


Singapore has in recent years been hosting gaming and gambling events with

more frequency,69 and in the process, exceptions have been made to the existing statutory impediments by way of statutory exemptions to the CGHA for organisers of private events to organise gambling events in Singapore.70 These developments suggest a more open policy towards controlled and revenue-generating gambling activities and events and, together with the development of the casinos, portends similar approaches and attitudes to online gambling if they are assessed to accord with the same public policy benefits and are of strong economic interest to Singapore.71 However, the opinion of the Court of Appeal in the latest case of Poh Soon Kiat v Desert Palace Inc,72 given in December 2009, points to a more cautious and conservative view of the public policy considerations relating to gambling. Until the government takes an expressed stance on the issue, the matter will remain uncertain for the moment. This reinforces the need for clarity in policy and in the law on online gambling.


Issues under CGHA


Revisiting PP v Peh Chye Heng,73

as noted previously, the District Court

sentenced the accused under s 4(1)(a) of the CGHA for operating a cybercafe as a premise for online casino gaming to which any class of public had access to make bets on games of chance via computers. The operator charged in this case was the physical


Eg, the Betfair Asian Poker Tour in 2006, where permission was given to Capital Events (a local event organiser) and Betfair (a UK-based Internet betting exchange) to organise the Asian Poker Tour of 2006 in Singapore.

70 71

Eg, Common Gaming Houses (Exemption) (No 4) Notification 2006.

See Lau Kok Keng & Siew Kum Hong, “In the Name of Gaming: Taking a Chance on the Law” Law Gazette (February 2005) and Lau Kok Keng, “Entertainment and Gambling: A Changing Landscape” Law Gazette (September 2006) at 15. See also, Daren Tang, “New Dress for an Old Vice: Should Singapore be an Online Gambling Hub?” Inter Se (January 2007).


[2009] SGCA 60, available at http://www.singaporelawwatch.sg/remweb/legal/ln2/rss/judgment/65218. html? utm_source=rss%20subscription&utm_medium=rss.


[2009] SGDC 100.


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