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Over 120 arrested for breaking new online gambling law

SINGAPORE — More than 120 people have been arrested for illegal online gambling since the Remote Gambling Act came into effect on Feb 2 last year.

Over 120 arrested for breaking new online gambling law

Reuters file photo

SINGAPORE — More than 120 people have been arrested for illegal online gambling since the Remote Gambling Act came into effect on Feb 2 last year.

Since then, the Ministry of Home Affairs has also blocked hundreds of Internet domains, as well as blocked bank accounts and credit card payments linked to illegal online gambling services.

Under the law, remote gambling — punting via the Internet or phone — is banned unless it is provided by operators that were issued a certificate of exemption by the authorities.

Individuals who gamble online or via the phone face a fine of up to S$5,000 and six months’ jail, similar to current penalties for illegal gamblers under the Betting Act and the Common Gaming Houses Act.

Those who facilitate remote gambling can be fined between S$20,000 and S$200,000, and jailed for up to five years. If they target youths below 21, they face heftier penalties of S$20,000 to S$300,000 in fines and up to six years in jail. Parties outside Singapore that provide remote gambling services to people here face fines of S$20,000 to S$500,000 and up to seven years in jail.

Most recently, the police arrested 39 suspects in a series of raids between June and July, as part of a multinational operation led by Interpol against illegal football betting syndicates, which are estimated to have handled US$649 million.

The value of illegal bets collected by the suspects arrested in Singapore totalled more than S$2.5 million, based on preliminary investigations.

Under the certificate of exemption issued to Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club, people who are excluded from the casinos are not allowed to open or maintain players accounts with the two operators.

A spokesperson from the Ministry of Social and Family Development said about 51,000 people are excluded from the two casinos here as of June this year. These comprise Family Exclusion Orders, Automatic Exclusion by Law — such as undischarged bankrupts, persons receiving Government financial aid — and Third Party Exclusion Orders, which are issued to frequent casino patrons deemed by the National Council on Problem Gambling to be in financial difficulties.

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