Responding to the questions of several MPs in Parliament yesterday (10 Oct), Minister Tan Chuan-Jin defended the Government’s position on exemptions granted to Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club from the Remote Gambling Act. Mr Tan explained that the Government’s position on online gambling is “not to encourage it”, but to “recognise a reality” that there are Singaporeans who engage in it and hence provide a “safer space” to manage it.
Writing in his Facebook, opposition MP Leon Perera said that he tried to ask several questions about the exceptions, but that he failed to attract the attention of the Speaker of Parliament.
He made a mental note to himself to raise his hands higher the next time.
The three questions he wanted to ask in Parliament were:
- In granting these online gambling exceptions, was the government intending to switch illegal online gamblers to legal online gambling or to attract more new gamblers to the total market for online gambling, both legal plus illegal?;
- If the answer was to switch users from illegal to legal gambling, what evidence was obtained before taking the decision that the exemptions would have that effect, rather than increasing the total pool of online gamblers (both legal plus illegal)?; and
- Will the government regularly study and publish numbers on how this decision is affecting the online gambling population here, in terms of switching versus growing the market?”
Mr Perera said that he will consider filing this as a Parliamentary Questions subsequently.
It is rather strange that a politician like Mr Perera does not even have one picture of him with his hands raised high enough (even to wave) in his Facebook.