«

»

Singapore: Remote Gambling Act comes into force

By Lauren Silk

The Remote Gambling Act came into force in Singapore on 2 February 2015. On the same day hundreds of online gambling sites were blocked by internet service providers in Singapore. Payment transactions related to unlawful remote gambling activities were also blocked.

A few days prior to the RGA coming into force, the Media Development Authority (“MDA”) finally confirmed that the RGA will not target games which do not allow players to convert in-game credits to money or real merchandise, after months of unrest within the social gaming community about the way in which the hardline RGA will deal with social gaming. This came after the MDA had discussions with 10 industry players including game developers. The RGA will however prohibit casino style games which give players a chance to win money or real-world merchandise.

MDA has reiterated that the RGA does not cover games which do not, as part of the game design, enable players to receive money or money’s worth consequent to the outcome of that game. In particular, the MDA stated that the following types of games will not be covered by the RGA:

  • Games which do not allow players to win, through an in-game facility, money or real-world merchandise which can be exchanged for money;
  • Games which allow players to purchase or exchange game credits or tokens, but do not provide in-game facility to convert these game credits or tokens to money or real-world merchandise which can be exchanged for money:
  • Games which allow players to purchase, gain or exchange game enhancement features, e.g. weapons, skills, but do not provide in-game facility to convert these game enhancement features to money or real-world merchandise which can be exchanged for money; and
  • Games which rank players but do not provide in-game facility to convert these ranking positions to money or real-world merchandise which can be exchanged for money, such as Tower of Saviors and 2Fuse in their current form.

This is seen as being a pragmatic approach to stop this Act completely hindering the social gaming here in Singapore. It remains to be seen whether state backed online services provided by Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club will be awarded exemptions to continue trading.