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Online Betting in Singapore: What Is Legal and What Isn’t?

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Joanne Poh

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Remember back in the old days when, at the spot where Marina Bay Sands stands today, there was nothingness, and everyone was kicking up a huge fuss about how allowing casino gambling at the upcoming Integrated Resorts would lead to the downfall of society?

Despite the $100 levy, many Singaporeans entered the hallowed halls of the MBS and RWS casinos. Life savings were lost, but life went on.

In 2014, the long arm of the law decided to outlaw online gambling. But this year, they’ve decided to legalise it—but only for local operators Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club, in an attempt to get a slice of that sweet, sweet money from online gamblers, without letting them lose it to other operators.

But before you start rejoicing that you can now build your retirement nest egg online in a single night, be aware that if you “accidentally” participate in illegal gambling, you’re liable to a fine of up to $5,000, 6 months of jail or both. Ouch.

So what’s legal and what’s not?

 

Legal: Betting on the Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club websites

In 2014, the Remote Gambling Act was enacted. Thanks to this act, it became illegal for Singaporeans to engage in any form of remote gambling. Remote gambling includes any type of gambling which takes place on the Internet, over the phone, via TV or radio, or any other kind of communications technology.

Basically, that means everything short of rocking up to an illegal bookie in person (which, incidentally, is also illegal).

Now, all the hoohah is basically about the fact that Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club will be exempt from this restriction.

Right now, you can legally place bets on the following websites:

That also means you’re restricted to the usual Toto, 4D, soccer, F1 and horse racing. So those of you who once harboured dreams of becoming professional poker players, sorry, but poker and casino-style games will not be on the menu.

Now, we’re not encouraging people to set up accounts at the above sites. And before people start baring their teeth about the fact that placing the above links here is going to encourage gambling, we’re assuming anyone intelligent enough to understand the concept of online betting knows how to Google.

 

Illegal: Placing bets on overseas-based remote gambling websites and services

Anybody who used to engage in online soccer betting or was an avid poker fan would have noticed that, all of a sudden in 2014, all your favourite online gambling sites got blocked. We have our beloved Remote Gambling Act to thank for that.

But just because you’ve finally managed to find an online betting site that hasn’t been blocked doesn’t mean it’s safe to use.

Neither does the fact that these betting websites are based overseas make you immune in any way. The Remote Gambling Act makes it illegal to use foreign remote betting services no matter where they’re based.

 

Illegal: Betting through local bookies

Practically everyone knows it’s illegal to place bets with local bookies, but the practice is still rife. Heck, you might even have a few friends with deep pockets who’ve decided to turn themselves into bookies on special occasions like the World Cup.

Any Singapore-based remote gambling services are, as you would expect, illegal, not just for the bookies but also for customers.

This doesn’t just include websites but also bets placed via telephone, text message, or through some guy who posted a message on an internet forum.

Basically, the bottom line is that unless you want to get into trouble, you’d best stick to Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club for your online betting needs. The odds offered might not be as good as what you used to get on LiveBet. But that’s just something you’ll have to get used to.

Have you tried online betting with Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club? Share your experiences in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.