Published: 17 November 2022
1. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Ministry of Social and Family Development will be stepping up efforts against unlawful gambling and problem gambling during World Cup 2022 from 20 November to 18 December 2022.
2. The Gambling Control Act (GCA)1 prohibits all gambling activities in Singapore unless licensed, class-licensed, or exempted. Singapore Pools Pte Ltd is the only operator licensed to provide lotteries and sports betting services in Singapore.
3. Under the GCA, anyone who conducts unlawful gambling shall be liable on conviction for a fine of up to $500,000 and imprisonment of up to seven years, and for repeat offenders, a fine of up to $700,000 and imprisonment of up to 10 years. In addition, anyone who gambles with an unlicensed gambling service provider shall be liable on conviction for a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.
4. Unlawful gambling poses serious law and order concerns. The Police take strong enforcement actions to prevent and deter persons from participating in or profiting from unlawful gambling activities. On 17 July 2022, they arrested 24 men and five women, aged between 32 and 75, for their suspected involvement in providing unlawful remote gambling services. During the operation, cash amounting to about $730,000 as well as electronic devices such as computers and mobile phones, and gambling-related documents, were seized. The Police also froze the suspects’ bank accounts. Four of the men, aged between 39 and 68, have been charged in court. Police investigations are ongoing.
5. The Police also work with various stakeholders to disable telephone lines that are reported to be advertising unlawful gambling activities, block access to unlawful gambling content and websites, as well as close bank accounts involved with unlawful gambling activities. Police will endeavour to track the identity of the perpetrators behind the unlawful gambling activities and take them to task.
6. As part of MHA’s efforts to combat unlawful remote gambling, the Gambling Regulatory Authority has to-date blocked about 1,200 remote gambling websites, about 250 bank accounts, and more than S$33m of payments linked to remote gambling services.
Public Education and Outreach Efforts
7. The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) and National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) will be strengthening public education efforts on unlawful gambling and problem gambling.
8. NCPG is launching a new campaign to caution the public on the harm of excessive football betting. The campaign video depicts a football enthusiast’s experience from the euphoria of winning his bets, to chasing losses and desperation. The video will be screened before and during football matches on television. There will also be advertisements on radio, newspapers, digital and social media platforms, HDB lift panels, and bus-stop shelters.2
9. Mr Sim Gim Guan, Chairman of NCPG said: “The World Cup is a major sporting event that should be enjoyed without the fear of gambling debts. We urge everyone to exercise personal responsibility and keep a look out for their family and friends who may be affected by problem gambling. We encourage those who gamble excessively to step forward and speak with someone at NCPG Helpline (1800-6-668-668) or Webchat (www.ncpg.org.sg).”
10. The NCPC has also launched a campaign to warn the public of the risks of betting with illegal operators. The campaign will consist of television advertisement placements, digital banners, social media posts, posters, and wobblers.3 Balloon clappers and hand fans with messages against unlawful gambling will also be distributed at public venues showing live telecasts of the World Cup matches.
Advisory against Unlawful Gambling
11. Members of the public should not place bets with unlawful gambling operators. Unlawful gambling activities do not come with social safeguards like expenditure limits, monitoring of gambling behaviours, and resources to promote responsible gambling. Police will continue to take tough enforcement action against those who flout the law, including those who assist gambling syndicates in any way. These efforts will be stepped up during World Cup 2022.
12. The Government urges individuals to exercise personal responsibility. Family members and the community also play an important role in encouraging those with gambling problems to seek help.
 The GCA was passed in Parliament on 11 March 2022 and took effect on 1 August 2022. It consolidated all laws regulating gambling outside the casinos and replaced the Betting Act, the Common Gaming Houses Act, the Private Lotteries Act and the Remote Gambling Act.
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