Wednesday July 8,2015 : EXEMPTIONS TO SINGAPORE ONLINE GAMBLING BAN SOUGHT
Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club want to offer online sports betting.
It seems that the blanket Singapore ban on remote gambling imposed earlier this year might be loosened in time for local monopolies to benefit from the 2016 European football championship games.
Reports across Asian media claim that Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club (STC) have applied to be exempted from the draconian remote gaming laws, and that Singapore Pools has confirmed that it has hired British online gambling specialist OpenBet, which already provides online gambling software for major bookmakers such as William Hill, Paddy Power and Betfair, to help replace its current website with one which can offer sports betting.
The Singapore government has set a deadline of August 1 this year for local lottery operators to apply to the Ministry of Home Affairs for exemption under the Remote Gambling Act, which came into force on Feb 2.
The Ministry has confirmed that both Singapore Pools and STC have applied for certificates of exemption in order to "offer remote gambling services for their existing products". Officials said that the applications will take nine to 12 months to evaluate, and that applicants must be "not for profit" organisations.
Strict regulations regarding responsible gambling and money laundering will be applied.
Singapore Pools offers football and motor-racing betting, as well as lottery games, and STC takes bets on horse races.
One newspaper, the Straits Times, claims that $10 million has been budgeted for a new dedicated online gambling website for Singapore Pools, constructed by Openbet.
"A steering committee, led by Singapore Pools chief executive Seah Chin Siong, has been set up to oversee the operator's sports business and IT teams, which are working towards getting the site up and running in time for the Euro 2016," the Times reports, adding that a team from Openbet will be travelling to Singapore next week.
The Singapore online gambling market was estimated at around $500 million in 2014 prior to the government ban via the Remote Gambling Act. Under the Act, several hundred websites which provided remote gambling services were ISP blocked, with financial restrictions imposed through the local banks and credit cards suppliers.