The Straits Times reported on 15 Sep that legal online betting services could be made available in Singapore as early as the second half of October this year. The newspaper further said that Singapore Pools (SP) and the Singapore Turf Club (STC) are anticipating receiving the approval from the authorities to launch their online betting services very soon. If the gaming companies applications goes through, they would be the first to be exempted from the Remote Gambling Act, which as implemented in Feb 2015.

The Workers’ Party in a press release today said that it is concerned about the applications from SP and STC to launch online betting services, and that it opposes the granting of exemptions to any organisation to operate remote and online betting services and called on the government to reject these applications.

The opposition party reminded the government the reason for clamping down on remote gambling in 2014, and said that the convenience of remote gambling may encourage Singaporeans to take up the habit, possibly become a gateway to more serious gambling.

“When the government decided to clamp down on remote gambling in 2014, it cited concerns about addictive behaviour and easy access to these games. Should the Government approve their applications, Singapore Pools and STC will have 24/7 virtual betting outlets available in almost every home and mobile device.”

The party said that there are no lack of legal gambling venues in Singapore, and that it makes little sense for the government to close one door on remote gambling in order to “protect young persons and other vulnerable persons”, while opening another door that exposes them to the ills of gambling in their homes.

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“The social costs of gambling on families are well documented, and the number of problem gambling cases in Singapore has been on the rise,” WP said in its media release.