Singapore is a sovereign island city-state located in Southeast Asia. It is an attractive tourist destination with over 5.5 million residents. Singapore boasts a stable economy and is considered to be the third biggest gambling destination. Assuming you are planning to visit Singapore, you should know that there the city-state is home to two of the most luxurious land-based casinos.
However, Singapore has very strict regulations regarding gambling, and the line between legal and illegal gambling is fine. In 2022, the Singapore Parliament enacted new laws regarding gambling, establishing a new single regulatory authority for all forms of gambling. In this article, we will discuss the legal and illegal forms of gambling and the penalties for players and operators who violate Singapore’s gambling law.
Best Singapore Online Casinos
In Singapore, online gambling is illegal unless offered by an exempt operator. At the moment of writing this article, the only operators licensed to provide gambling services to residents of Singapore are Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club. But if a player from Singapore places a bet at an offshore web-based casino, they may be fined up to $5,000 and imprisoned for up to six months.
However, plenty of online casinos licensed in foreign countries welcome Singaporean players. Casino fans from the country-state often resort to proxy servers that mask their IP address. That is how players circumvent the law and access offshore gambling sites. Check our list of top gambling sites accepting players from Singapore.
Best Casino Bonuses for Singaporean Players
In 2013, the Singaporean government announced its plans to block foreign-licensed gambling sites, online gambling commercials, and financial transactions to offshore web-based casinos. But at the time of writing, Singaporeans can still access various gambling sites licensed in foreign countries, with some even offering support in Mandarin. Casino enthusiasts from Singapore prefer to play at foreign-licensed gambling sites due to the generous promotions on offer.
Although not many web-based casinos offer no deposit bonuses, most operators treat their new registrants to welcome offers. Players must add funds to their casino accounts to claim the sign-up offer, which usually consists of a match deposit bonus and free spins. The Welcome Bonus is associated with wagering requirements that players must clear in order to withdraw their profits. Besides, casino fans from Singapore must pay attention to the game weightings.
No Deposit Bonus
Some gambling sites offer no deposit bonuses to attract the attention of newcomers. The no deposit bonus provides players with the opportunity to try out a given web-based casino without risking their funds. Players who claim a no deposit bonus will receive free spins or cash. Note that the no deposit bonus usually comes with higher wagering requirements. Moreover, you may be required to make a deposit to cash out your profits. A crucial thing to mention is that operators usually impose a maximum withdrawal limit.
Existing players can take advantage of various reload bonuses. Usually, you will be required to fund your account to claim a reload bonus. Reload bonuses will match your deposit by a specific percentage up to a maximum amount. Some reload bonuses also offer free spins that can be used on specific slot games. Reload bonuses are also tied to wagering requirements.
Cashback bonuses provide players with the opportunity to recover a small percentage of their losses incurred over a specific period. However, not many gambling sites offer cashback bonuses. That is why visit the bonus section to check the promotions up for grabs. Most operators do not apply wagering requirements to the cashback bonus, meaning you can withdraw the refunded amount instantly. However, cashback bonuses are not always wager-free.
Many web-based casinos feature VIP schemes, rewarding their existing players from Singapore for their loyalty. Casino fans earn comp points every time they place a real-money wager. The pace at which you collect comp points depends on the games you play. When you accumulate a specific number of comp points, you can exchange them for bonus funds (or real cash, depending on the casino’s policy). VIP programs also include a number of levels. Casino enthusiasts can advance to higher tiers of the program by earning more comp points.
Casino Regulation in Singapore
Singapore was a British colony for 144 years. The city-state is often associated with the so-called “gambling farms” where cockfighting took place. In 1856, cockfighting was outlawed, and all “gambling farms” were closed. In 1923, gambling was legalized in Singapore. However, this led to a dramatic increase in problem gambling. Three years later, gambling was outlawed again. In 1963, Singapore declared independence from Britain, which did not affect its anti-gambling laws. Throughout the years, multiple proposals to regulate the gambling industry have been introduced, but all of them were declined by the government. In 1968, Singapore Pools was established and licensed as the only operator that can operate lottery games in the city-state. For a long, lottery games were the only legal form of gambling in Singapore.
In 2005, Singapore finally removed the ban on casino gambling in an effort to boost tourism and reduce unemployment. But many people were concerned about the negative consequences of regulating casino gambling. That is why the Singaporean government introduced strict measures to prevent gambling problems.
Under the provisions, only two integrated resorts (IRs) were allowed to open in Singapore. Integrated resorts can have a gaming area, occupying no more than 5% of the total floor area. Residents of the city-state must pay a daily fee of $100 or $2,000 per year to enter one of the two gambling establishments. At that time, the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) was established to regulate the two integrated resorts (IRs) based in Marina South and Sentosa. In 2019, the entry levy was raised by 50% to $150 per day and $3,000 per year.
What to Expect from the Two Integrated Resorts in Singapore?
Owned by Genting Singapore, Resorts World Santosa opened its doors in 2010. The integrated resort features six hotels, restaurants, retail stores, and entertainment venues. The gaming area hosts 500 tables and 2,400 slots. Roulette, blackjack, baccarat, and Pai Gow are some of the games you can play if you visit Resorts World Santosa.
Marina Bay Sands is operated by Sands China. The $5.7-billion integrated resort offers thousands of hotel rooms, a convention center, restaurants, luxury retailers, and a casino floor that occupies 15,000 square meters. The gaming area features 600 tables and 1,500 slot machines. Here you can play not only Vegas-style casino games but also Chinese games.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Singapore?
In 2014, the Remote Gambling Act was passed to ban all forms of online gambling. According to this piece of legislation, running online gambling operations, processing gambling-related financial transactions or advertising online gambling in Singapore is illegal. Casino fans from Singapore who engage in illegal gambling activities will be punished by detention for up to six months and a fine of up to $5,000. Individuals running illegal gambling operations throughout the country will be fined and imprisoned for up to seven years.
But the growing interest in online gambling called for some changes in the law. In 2016, the Singaporean government allowed two local operators, Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club, to offer online gambling services to locals. This means that players from Singapore can legally wager online on Toto, 4D, soccer, F1, and horse racing through the websites of Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club.
What Laws Govern Singapore’s Gambling Industry?
Singapore enacted different gambling laws, each governing various forms of gambling. The Common Gaming Houses Act bans all common gaming houses, public gaming, and public lotteries. This piece of legislation fails to provide a clear distinction between “gambling” and “gaming”. According to the Common Gaming Houses Act, a “common gambling house” is a place where gaming activities take place and is open to the general public.
The Betting Act bans betting in common betting houses. According to the piece of legislation, a “common betting house” is a place used for betting or wagering purposes. The Private Lotteries Act outlaws all private lotteries unless a permit is granted by the Police. The main difference between public and private lotteries is that the latter is open to participation from members of a society.
As mentioned earlier, the Casino Control Act regulates the two integrated resorts in Singapore, while the Remote Gambling Act prohibits all forms of remote gambling unless licensed or exempted.
Social and physical gaming is allowed in Singapore. For a gaming activity to be considered “physical”, it should be conducted in person in one’s home. Gambling activities between members of the same family and friends are also legal as long as they are non-commercial.
In March 2022, the Parliament passed the Gambling Control Act 2022 and the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Act 2022. This resulted in the establishment of a new regulatory body, the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA), which will regulate all forms of gambling.
The new Gambling Control Act provides a clear definition of social gaming and includes heftier penalties for illegal gambling. Under the new rules, it is a criminal offence to participate in gambling activities if you are below the legal gambling age of 21.
Is online gambling legal in Singapore?
Online gambling in Singapore is strictly regulated. The law bans all forms of internet gambling. However, there are two operators, including Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club, that are licensed to offer online gambling services to players from Singapore. Playing at a foreign-licensed web-based casino is considered a crime.
What taxes are due on gambling winnings?
Singaporeans do not have to pay taxes on their gambling winnings. However, they must pay an entry fee of $150 (raised from $100) every time they want to visit one of the two integrated resorts. It is also possible to pay an annual fee of $3,000 (up from $2,000).
What is the minimum gambling age in Singapore?
Individuals must be at least 21 years old to enter one of the two integrated resorts in Singapore. However, if you engage in gambling activities offered by Singapore Pools, you should be at least 18 years old. There is no age requirement to participate in physical and social gaming.
How to find a reputable web-based casino that accepts players from Singapore?
Playing at an offshore online casino is against the law, and you may face hefty penalties for engaging in illegal gambling activities. However, many web-based casinos welcome players from the city-state. Singaporeans who dare to play at offshore web-based casinos should ensure that the gambling site is licensed. Moreover, they must check the supported payment methods and accepted currencies to determine whether the gambling site corresponds to their needs.
Is it legal to play games with friends at home?
Social gambling is legal in Singapore. In other words, it is allowed to invite friends or members of your family to play mahjong or poker at home. However, if you use your house or apartment solely for gambling activities, you may face a hefty fine and even end up in jail. Note that the gambling activity must be non-commercial in order to be classed as social.