IMGL Magazine April 2022

Singapore market reform

would defeat the purpose of entry checks for casinos and private clubs put in place to screen out individuals of concern, such as entry bans imposed by casinos. The GCA has now criminalizzed proxy gambling. Effectively, both the decision-maker and the proxy may be arrested and are liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding S$10,000 or an imprisonment term not exceeding 12 months. New offences for underaged individuals Under the GCA, the minimum age for gambling will remain the same at 21 years old, except for gambling at Singapore Pools’ branches and retail outlets which will require participants to be at least 18 years of age. However, two social safeguards pertaining to underaged individuals will be introduced. Firstly, it will be an offence for underaged individuals to gamble, whether with legal or unlawful operators. This is a step-up from the current set of regulations, where only the person who invites, causes, or permits the underaged person to gamble in Singapore will be committing an offence (but not the underaged person himself ). Secondly, it will also be an offence for underaged individuals to enter gambling areas, except where entry checks are not required (such as Singapore Pools’ physical outlets). Underaged individuals are also prohibited from intentionally opening or re-opening an account with a licensed operator to engage in general remote gambling. Consequently, any underaged individual who is found to contravene these prohibitions will be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding S$1,500. Standardising advertising and promotion offences Currently, the threshold for proving an advertising and promotion (“A&P”) offence is lower for unlawful online gambling compared to unlawful terrestrial gambling. Notably, an A&P offence can be committed even if there is no online gambling involved, whereas there is a need to link an A&P offence to actual unlawful terrestrial gambling activities. The GCA has ensured a consistent treatment of A&P offences across all gambling modalities, Effectively, it seeks to decrease the threshold of proof for unlawful terrestrial gambling activities, such that it is no longer a requirement to link such offences to the involvement of actual gambling, bringing the threshold for proving this offence similar to online gambling.. Thus, in any context, a person would be liable for an A&P offence as long as he advertises unlawful gambling, or does anything else to promote unlawful gambling, or entices the public to participate in unlawful gambling. For the purpose of deterrence, this is a strict

liability offence, meaning that no fault elements need to be shown in order for liability to be established. Significantly, this means that third parties have an obligation to ensure that they only advertise lawful gambling, or risk being liable under this offence. However, this is not to say that anyone who commits an A&P offence will always be found liable, as they may rely on one of many defences available. One such defence is if the gambling advertisement was published as an accidental or incidental accompaniment to the publication of other matter not forming part of any promotion of gambling, and the publisher does not receive any direct or indirect benefit (whether financial or otherwise) for publishing that gambling advertisement. This would be applicable to broadcasters that accidentally display a gambling advertisement as part of regular broadcasting. Separately, the GRA is empowered under the GCA to order corrective measures to be taken in relation to unlawful gambling advertisements. Some examples would include measures to stop the advertisement with immediate effect, or to publish a corrective advertisement containing such information or material that may be specified by the GRA. Failure to comply with such an order would make one liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding S$50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to both. In addition, the GRA can take such steps as it deems reasonable and necessary to implement the requirements of the order and recover any costs and expenses it has reasonably incurred in Currently, families of problem gamblers may make an application to the National Council on Problem Gambling (“NCPG”) for an exclusion order against these problem gamblers to bar them from entering into, remaining in, or taking part in any gaming on casino premises, club jackpot rooms and with Singapore Pools for remote gambling in Singapore. The enforcement of exclusion orders is left up to the casinos, the clubs and Singapore Pools, and they may be subjected to disciplinary action should there be any breach of the exclusion orders. Under the GCA, it is now an offence for persons under an exclusion order to gamble or enter into gambling areas where the NCPG exclusions are applicable. If found guilty , they shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding S$10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both. Essentially, this provides exclusion orders with more bite, and serves as a deterrent against problem gamblers who wish to defy the orders. doing so from the offender. Family exclusion orders

IMGL Magazine • April 2022 • 27

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