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Joe Halliday

If you’re a resident of Singapore and want to partake in some online betting, it’s imperative that you know about the current Singapore gambling laws

This will help you understand your options for gambling both in the country and with off-shore brands. Read on to learn everything you need to know about in-person and online gambling activities, lotteries, sports betting, and responsible gambling. 

Singapore’s Gambling Industry

Singapore is one of the world’s financial capitals. Unsurprisingly, therefore, it’s also a big player in the gambling industry. 

The most recent reliable estimates judge the casino sector alone to be worth $1.8 billion. Despite only being home to around 5.5 million people, Singapore represents around 1.5% of the global gambling market. It is also the biggest market in the Asia-Pacific region, trumping countries like the Philippines and Vietnam.

Singapore might not have the most gambling-friendly laws around. But even its legal gambling sector is worth a vast amount of money, and Singaporeans clearly don’t mind spending on this hobby. 

Understanding Singapore Laws on Gambling

Singapore has a long, complicated, and contentious history with gambling and gambling regulations. This helps to explain the current strange situation in which gambling is not banned but is heavily restricted. 

When under colonial rule in the nineteenth century, some of the British saw legalized gambling as a good way to raise money via ‘gambling farms.’ These were subsequently banned. Gambling was briefly legalized in 1923, then banned again. 

The basis for the current system grew later in the 20th century. Gambling was made legal, but only in specific, government-run operations. You could bet on lotteries via the Singapore Pools and horse racing through the Singapore Turf Club, both of which continue to operate. 

In the early 21st century, the Singaporean government allowed the creation of land-based casinos to boost tourism. However, these must be in ‘Integrated Resorts,’ like the famous Marina Bay Sands, and there are still only a handful of land-based venues in Singapore. 

Finally, it’s worth noting that less formal gambling in Singapore long predates colonial rule. It continues via underground betting on sporting events, unlicensed slot machines, games of chance, and so on. It’s impossible to calculate just how big this is, but – to give some idea – in September 2023, police seized illegal gambling assets worth $2.4 billion from just one group of organized criminals. 

The Singapore Gambling Regulatory Authority

Since some forms of gambling are legal in Singapore, it naturally needs a regulatory body to oversee matters. This responsibility now falls on the Gambling Regulatory Body. 

This area was previously the jurisdiction of the Casino Regulatory Authority, created in 2008. That changed in 2022 when several new gambling laws came in. Since then, the GRA has been in charge. 

The GRA is now responsible for giving out licenses for casinos, lotteries, betting, gambling machines, and online gaming platforms. It also has the power to issue penalties for rule-breaking. For example, as recently as December 2023, it charged Resorts World fines totaling S$2.5 million for failing to carry out their customer due diligence measures. 

Know the Singapore Gambling Laws Regulations

Six main pieces of legislation have helped to determine the current Singapore gambling laws. We’ll explain some of these in more detail shortly. For now, though, here’s a quick summary of each case. 

  • Betting Act – 1960

Formally eliminated unlicensed betting houses, bookmakers, and gambling in public places. Did set the stage for government-licensed operators in the future. Has since been repealed and replaced.

  • Common Gaming Houses Act – 1961

Like the Betting Act, it aims to eliminate betting houses and independent bookmakers. Also left room for government-run operations. Has also since been replaced. 

  • Casino Control Act – 2006

Authorized the creation of two land-based casinos, but only in Integrated Resorts. Also outlined ‘levies’ which people attending the casinos must pay and created bodies to help with problem gambling. Was subsequently amended in 2009 and 2012. 

  • Remote Gambling Act – 2014

It is the first legislation to address online casino laws and digital gambling. It banned all forms of online gambling not carried out with a Singapore-licensed gambling operator. 

  • Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Act – 2022

Established the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) as the new regulatory body in Singapore, replacing the old Casino Regulatory Authority. Gave the GRA a wider remit than the CRA had. 

  • Gambling Control Act – 2022

Essentially, it is a major update to many of Singapore’s gambling laws to keep them in line with developing trends in the industry. Changed the definitions of ‘gambling’ and ‘betting,’ combined old regulations, introduced new laws and minimum age requirements, and so on. 

Who is the Gambling Regulatory Authority in Singapore?

The Gambling Regulatory Authority now looks after the gambling industry in Singapore. It replaced the previous Casino Regulatory Authority in 2022 as part of the Gambling Control Act. 

The GRA is one of the 11 Home Team agencies in Singapore and falls under the country’s Ministry of Home Affairs umbrella. Its stated goals are ‘keeping gambling honest and free of criminal influence, and minimizing the harm from gambling.’ 

On a more practical level, the GRA’s job is actually to enforce the aforementioned gambling laws. It has the power to issue licenses, fine rule-breakers, and make new regulations for the gambling industry. Crucially, it is also in charge of promoting responsible gambling in Singapore and helping out those with a gambling problem.

The 2022 Gambling Control Act

The Gambling Control Act was voted through Singapore’s parliament in March 2022 and officially came into effect that August. It is now the most important legislation governing gambling within the country. 

Singapore’s previous gambling laws were outdated and hadn’t fully adjusted for emerging trends (most notably regarding online gambling). The biggest change in the Gambling Control Act was to expand on what fell under the umbrella of ‘gambling’ and thus effectively regulate modern-day gambling. 

The Gambling Control Act also brought in several other measures. While the likes of fruit machines were previously permitted in private establishments, for example, the property owners now needed to apply for licenses. Activities were also sorted by ‘risk,’ with fundraising lotteries, for example, still technically being judged gambling but also ranked as ‘lower risk’ than the likes of casino games. 

Elsewhere, this Act helped collect what were previously scattered pieces of legislation into one easily-understood set of laws. It also acknowledged and made provisions for problem gamblers and put a far bigger emphasis on promoting responsible gambling. 

Gambling Control Act 2022 Regulations

The Gambling Control Act is broken down into three main components called ‘regimes.’ 

Here’s a quick summary of each one.

GCA Regime Description Coverage
Social Gambling Exception Regulates casual, low-stakes, generally less-organized gambling activities Gambling in private social settings, e.g. among family and friends
Class-Licensing Regime Regulates ‘lower risk’ activities, which are still judged to be gambling Various forms of lottery, mystery boxes, etc.
Licensing Regime Responding to requests from operators for gambling licenses Includes products operated by the Singapore Pools, fruit machines, and organized casual gambling (e.g. at societies and clubs)

The Remote Gambling Act

The Remote Gambling Act was passed in 2014. This was the Singaporean government’s first true effort to update their gambling legislation and get it in line with developing trends in the industry. 

In short, this was the law that finally addressed online gambling. It brought in various measures to try and combat off-shore casinos and sportsbooks, including blocking certain websites and payments to them. It also formally banned the advertising of gambling products. 

The Remote Gambling Act wasn’t enormously effective, with measures like website blocking obviously being easily circumvented with a VPN. Unsurprisingly, it was completely repealed in 2022 when the aforementioned Gambling Control Act and Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Act came in, both of which were more progressive and comprehensive.

What Are the Singapore Pools?

As noted, there are very few places you can legally gamble in Singapore. One of your only options here is the Singapore Pools. 

The Singapore Pools is a state-owned gambling company. It was created in 1968 as the only legal way for locals to gamble, instead of using the many illegal operators. Originally, it was created purely for lotteries. It has since gone on to offer sports betting though, and – following the Remote Gambling Act – also opened an online sportsbook. 

The Singapore Pools is still fully operated by the local government. Like the Singapore Turf Club, it is owned by the Tote Board, which in turn falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance. It is enormously popular and profitable, attracting over $10 billion of spending on lotteries and sports betting per financial year.  

Gambling Control Act and Social Gaming

As you may already have gathered, the gambling laws in Singapore represent quite a nuanced approach. The main objective is not to severely restrict gambling but to ensure it’s done in a regulated and legal manner. 

Singapore’s approach to social gaming is perhaps the best example. The government knows that citizens have gambled in private for a long time and will continue to do so. Rather than clamping down on this completely, a set of clear rules was outlined in the 2022 Gambling Control Act. Specifically, these fall under the Social Gambling Exception. 

These were designed to stop criminals from benefiting from underground gambling. They permit gambling in an individual’s home (although people partaking must still be 21 years of age). Crucially, though, the participants in the game must know each other (e.g. be friends or family), and nobody who isn’t directly involved in the game – i.e. a gambling syndicate – can profit. 

Land-Based Gambling for Singapore Players

In 2005, the Singaporean government announced the development of two new land-based casinos, which – along with hotels – would form ‘Integrated Resorts.’ These two casinos – the Marina Bay Sands Casino and the Resorts World Sentosa Casino – remain open and enormously popular today. They were initially regulated by the Casino Regulatory Authority, per the Casino Control Act, but now fall under the Gambling Regulatory Authority’s jurisdiction. 

Despite the success of these sites, no other land-based casinos have been created. If you want to play casino games in person in Singapore, they remain your two options. 

The only other place you can go to gamble is the Singapore Turf Club. This racecourse is located north of the main island, although it’s currently scheduled to shut down by 2027. When it does, Singapore will lose its single venue for on-site sports betting unless a replacement is created. 

Is Sports Betting Legal in Singapore?

One of the main objectives of the Gambling Control Act was to update gambling-related definitions to fit better with contemporary trends. ‘Sports betting’ was one of the biggest areas that needed modernizing to encompass e-sports and virtual sports.

In short, sports betting is legal under the GCA. However, There is only one place you can wager, Singapore Pools. 

You can use this platform to place wagers online on all the usual sports and competitions. Since there’s a complete lack of competition, however, Singapore Pools don’t exactly need to offer the attractive odds or bonuses you’d expect from a modern-day sportsbook. 

Obviously, bettors have an alternative here: to use an international betting site that lacks a license in Singapore. If you’re caught doing so, you could be subject to a fine or (in theory) even jail time. The chances of this happening are incredibly remote, but the risk technically exists. 

Is Lottery Legal in Singapore?

Lotteries are extremely popular in Singapore and completely legal as long as you go with a legitimate provider. Like all other forms of gambling, they fall under the remit of the Gambling Regulatory Authority, and the rules for lotteries specifically can be found in the Gambling Control Act. 

As with sports betting, your only way to legally wager on large-scale lotteries is via Singapore Pools. This features a solid variety of options, including Toto and 4D. Also permitted are certain smaller-scale lotteries for the purposes of fundraisers, promotions, and so on, which fall under the Class-Licensing Regime in the GCA. 

Responsible Gambling in Singapore

Like many countries with gambling laws (i.e. in which gambling is not completely illegal), Singapore has seen a growing emphasis on responsible gambling in recent years. 

Nowadays, the Gambling Regulatory Authority is ‘committed to fostering responsible gambling.’ This involves taking a wide range of measures, including education on the dangers of gambling, assisting those who have a gambling problem, and helping employers identify signs of problem gambling in employees. This commitment is mirrored in all the state-approved gambling operations, such as Singapore Pools and land-based casinos. 

The leading destination for those with a gambling problem in Singapore is the National Council on Problem Gambling. This service has a huge amount of information about identifying an issue for yourself and how to deal with it. It also provides counseling services, helps players self-exclude from gambling sites, and so on.

Final Thoughts

After reading this article, you should comprehensively understand the current Singapore gambling laws. We’ve also seen how they’ve changed over the years to arrive at their current status. The situation remains fluid of course, and – if any Singapore new gambling laws are introduced – we’ll be sure to update this page. 

While Singapore’s stance might seem complicated at first glance, it’s really not – gambling is permitted, but only with a small handful of licensed operators. Using off-shore betting sites instead will open up your options significantly but will also incur some risk on your part. 


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Joe Halliday

Joe is an expert in both online casinos and sports betting sites. He has worked as a full-time online gambling content creator for over six years now, and has many more years of personal betting experience. He particularly enjoys betting on football, where he favours a stats-based strategy, but likes gambling on the NFL, NBA, and more too. Elsewhere, Joe carries his data-driven approach to Fantasy Premier League, for which he writes tips columns, how-to guides, and more. Joe has written for a wide variety of sports betting and casino sites including TopBettingSites, FootballBettingSites and OnlineBettingSites.