The Time for Change Has Arrived in Singapore for 2021Published January 14, 2021 by Lee R
Many stakeholders will be consulted in a streamlined regulation model in Singapore.
Singapore is revamping regulation in 2021, to keep up with plans announced in 2020.
The Original Restructuring Initiative
On April 3, 2020, Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs announced the reconstitution of the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) into the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) by 2021.
Streamlining the Model
MHA clarified that the GRA mandate was expanded to consolidate and optimise Singapore's gambling regulation within a single agency.
Keeping Up with the Times
The MHA also at the time established a goal of amending all gambling legislation by 2021 to keep up with rapidly evolving gambling products and business models.
Current Regulatory Landscape
Entering 2021, gambling regulation in Singapore remains overseen by various government agencies, which has renewed calls streamlining and unifying regulation practices across a landscape where the distinction between gambling products and skill-based gaming products has become increasingly blurred.
Addressing Loot Boxes
Loot boxes are a key issue to be addressed. Though appearing more and more frequently in mobile phone games, they have yet to be regulated in Singapore.
Experts believe expanded legislation in Singapore will address loot boxes as part of a greater category of non-traditional gambling products.
Existing Regulation Examples
A diverse collection of jurisdictions including the UK, Japan and China have previously regulated loot boxes through requiring the disclosure of drop rates for “loot boxes,” as well as various age and other restrictions, while an innovative country such as Belgium banned loot boxes outright.
Another area that legislation rumoured to be introduced in Singapore is e-sports betting, which could actually put Singapore in a trailblazing industry role.
Consolidation of the regulation model is reported to include stricter anti-money laundering and terrorism financing guidelines for operators as well.
Consolidation Accelerates Adaptation
The consolidated model should further enable GRA to adapt regulation more rapidly and effectively to emerging gambling products.
Public Groups to be Consulted
Stakeholders whom the MHA plans to consult with regarding regulation and subsequent adaption include such diverse social groups as gambling operators, religious organisations, social service agencies, and members of the public.
The widespread consultation of stakeholders in society combined with the tackling of key issues facing Singapore appear the main keys to effective streamlining of Singapore MHA's risk-based approach to revamping regulation of a lucrative market in a traditionally strict jurisdiction.