Singapore Parliament on Friday paved the way for the Gambling Control Bill which legalizes social gambling, while criminalizing underage and proxy gambling. With tight safeguards in place, the bill aims to protect the vulnerable by prohibition

With the bill in place, penalties for unlawful gambling, both in-person and online, will be increased and repeat offenders who facilitate or operate unlawful gambling services will be can face stricter penalties.

The Gambling Control Bill includes licensing for key gambling products, as well as class licensing regimes for lower-risk ones, like online games with gambling elements.

The fact that social gambling was not illegal prior to the bill being passed, has led to some questioning the intentions. Singapore MP Gerald Giam believes the bill can be seen as “the government issuing an official stamp of approval for gambling”.

Singapore Minister of State for Home Affairs, Desmond Tan, responded saying that social gambling is allowed when it is “with family and friends, including minors, at home”.  In addition, he noted that “individuals should exercise personal responsibility in deciding whether to allow underaged individuals to engage in such activities”.

Non-Fungible Tokens and Gambling

A hot topic in the crypto and gaming world are NFT (Non-Fungible Tokens), and whether they need to fall under existing gambling legislation, for example NFT football trading and collectibles platform Sorare.

According to Tan, most NFTs do not fall under the regulatory remit of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), while they are mainly being used to tokenize digital art and other collectibles. If an NFT has the characteristics of a capital markets product under Securities and Futures Act, it will be subject to MAS’ regulatory requirements, he added.

Tan said:

“Creating or trading NFTs is not considered gambling, unless there is an element of chance involved in their creation or trading.

However, gambling services that use NFTs as stake or prize will be covered in our gambling legislation.”

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