Published: 14 June 2018
1. As part of continued efforts to combat illegal remote gambling and problem gambling, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Social and Family Development will be working together to tackle these issues arising from World Cup 2018, which takes place from 14 June to 15 July 2018.
Enforcement & Blocking Measures
2. The Remote Gambling Act criminalises the entire spectrum of illegal remote gambling – from operating, facilitating and promoting such activities to participating in them. It also provides for a comprehensive blocking regime targeting websites that offer or promote illegal remote gambling, as well as electronic payments to operators.
3. Between 6 and 13 June 2018, Police arrested two individuals for their suspected involvement in providing illegal remote gambling services. Police are also investigating 10 individuals who are believed to have allowed their bank accounts and mobile lines to be used by illegal gambling websites. Investigations against these persons are ongoing.
4. Police will continue to take tough enforcement action against those who flout the law, including those who assist remote gambling syndicates in any way. Members of the public should not place bets with illegal remote gambling operators. Under the Remote Gambling Act, individuals who place bets with illegal operators are liable for a fine not exceeding $5,000 or an imprisonment term not exceeding six months or both.
5. In March 2018, the Ministry of Home Affairs blocked 80 additional illegal gambling websites and six additional bank accounts used by illegal remote gambling operators. Since February 2015, more than 800 websites, 200 bank accounts and $7 million worth of transactions have been blocked.
Public Education and Outreach
6. The National Council on Problem Gambling (“NCPG”) and National Crime Prevention Council (“NCPC”) have intensified their public education efforts.
7. The NCPG will be conducting targeted outreach to youths and older adults, with a campaign to remind the public of the harms of problem gambling through advertisements on television, radio stations, newspapers, coffee-shops and bus-stop shelters. A digital campaign will be launched to engage youths on the signs of problem gambling and encourage them to seek help early.
8. The NCPG also has ongoing community outreach efforts which include:
9. The NCPC has also launched a campaign against illegal betting. This aims to raise awareness and warn the public of the risks of betting with illegal operators, via television advertisement placements, digital banners on World Cup broadcast channels, and posters. NCPC will also release a video regarding illegal betting on social media.
10. The Government will continue with our multi-pronged approach to combatting illegal remote and terrestrial gambling. We will monitor the situation, and review our various strategies as and when necessary.
11. The Government urges individuals to exercise personal responsibility. Family members and the community also play an important role to encourage those with gambling problems to seek help. Persons who prefer to remain anonymous can request for e-counselling via the National Problem Gambling Helpline 1800-6-668-668 or via webchat at www.ncpg.org.sg.
The Remote Gambling Act was passed in October 2014, and came into effect in February 2015. It serves to tackle law and order threats associated with remote gambling activities, and to protect vulnerable persons from such activities.