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Report of the Law Reform Committee on Online Gaming and Singapore

existing laws or to draft new laws to separately deal with the issue. As we shall see from the existing approaches taken in other jurisdictions, the options in relation to gambling operators and companies as well as financial intermediaries are either regulation through licensing or prohibition.

III.

Approaches in Other Jurisdictions

78

The regulatory regime for land-based gambling operations is well established in

many countries but the gambling laws in such countries may not necessarily have been updated to take into account the Internet and the ability to offer gambling services

online.

  • A.

    United States of America

    • (1)

      Introduction

79

The online gambling laws and policy in the United States are primarily state

driven although the federal government have in more recent years attempted to prohibit, and then regulate, Internet gambling in various stages.

(2)

What is gaming, what is gambling, and which is to be regulated?79

80

In the US, the ordinary definition of “gaming” is, in the contemporary context

(ie online games)80 “the activity of playing computer games”, while in the more traditional context refers to “the activity of playing cards or other games of chance for money” (ie gambling). “Gambling” on the other hand refers to “when people risk money or possessions on the result of something which is not certain, such as a card game or a horse race”. 81

81

In the US, “gambling” is generally used to more narrowly describe games of

chance involving the wagering of money or money’s worth, and thus of activities that are regulated or prohibited. “Gaming” on the other hand is more loosely used to cover all forms of games, whether of chance, skill or mixed, that may or may not involve the exchange of money, money’s worth of material value whether in trade or bet. It is thus the genus to the specie that is a gamble.82 Under a matrix of a game of chance involving

79

David R Johnson, “How Online Games May Change the Law and Legally Significant Institutions” 49 NYL Sch L Rev 51 (2004).

80

These include the following categories: First Person Shooter, Real Time Strategy, Cross-Platform Online Play, Browser Games and Massive Multi-Player Online Games.

81 82

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, available at http://www.ldoceonline.com. Some articles make no distinction between “gambling” and “gaming” and use them inter-changeably.

21

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