Thursday May 30,2013 : SINGAPORE RESTRICTIONS COULD WORK FOR ONLINE CASINOS
New regulations could prove to be a double-edged sword
Starting this weekend, Singapore punters at the nation's land casinos face new government-imposed restrictions on the number of times they can play during the month…and that could drive them to illegal online gambling venues, claim problem gambler bodies.
The publication AsiaOne reports that the number of visits a Singapore patron can make to local land casinos under the new requirements will depend on each individual's unique circumstances, although how this personal information is to be garnered or enforced is not clear.
Around 4,000 to 6,000 frequent gamblers will probably be impacted, according to government estimates, suggesting that the restricted gambling list will be based on gamblers who are already known or have been flagged to government. There are already measures in place to curtail the activities of self-excluding or government-excluded gamblers.
Announcing the new caps this week, the Ministry of Social and Family Development said the new requirements will be administered by the National Council on Problem Gambling. This body can impose visit limits on suspected problem gamblers, and can act on applications by relatives of gamblers who they perceive to be over-indulging.
Some problem gambling agencies are concerned that the caps may encourage potential problem gamblers to seek out alternative venues for their passion – notably online casinos illegal in Singapore.
"The greatest threat to problem gamblers now is online gambling, which is easily available – especially with today's smart devices – and still unregulated," one counsellor opined. Other potential risks are that punters could be driven to wager higher stakes or stay for longer periods at the casinos.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said on May 10 that it will work with industry experts to look into measures to tackle online gambling