The terms “gaming” and “gambling” are fairly wide and they refer to a wide
range of activities. Traditionally, the term “gambling” has been used to cover lotteries, wagers and casino-style games. “Gaming” has also been used traditionally in some literature to cover not only activities involving gambling but also games of skill or games predominantly of skill. However, in recent times, certain jurisdictions such as the United States (“US”) and Australia have drawn a distinction between “online gaming” and “online gambling”. The former is used to refer to games played in an online environment which do not have the elements of gambling and is not a subset of “online gambling”. The relevant Singapore legislation has not expressly drawn such a distinction though the case law interpreting such legislation appear to be cognisant of it.
Each of these activities will be discussed in this section as they raise different
issues. Many jurisdictions have laws that ban some or all of these activities in their traditional form in the physical world context. All of these activities however can and have been adapted to an electronic and online format with the use of computers, software and the Internet, but not all countries have addressed the legality of the digital
Lotteries usually involve money being given up in exchange for an opportunity
to win a prize typically through the method of being drawn by chance, akin to drawing lots for a prize. The prize can be a monetary amount or anything else such as a car or house. The most common types of lotteries are those operated by governments where one buys a ticket for a set cost such as the Singapore Sweep.1 Each ticket is numbered and if the number of the ticket is drawn, a prize is awarded. These are popular partly due to their simplicity and customer trust in operations that have governmental backing, which signals an honest and reliable operation. In some countries however, governments do not actually operate their own lotteries but grant licences to private operators, but allow the use of the government’s name and endorsement. In many jurisdictions, such as some European nations, Australia, and the United States, the authorities exercise continued oversight and supervision of lottery operators.
Another type of lottery that is popular is the charity lottery. In Australia, one of
the oldest charity lottery is the BoysTown Lotteries, the proceeds of which go towards BoysTown’s services, which provide care and support for disadvantaged young