Singapore Searches for a Way to Monitor Online Gaming

By Debra SaundersGoogle

Authorities in Singapore are attempting to exert control over the online casino games industry in the country and combat a rise in online gambling addiction among citizens. In their efforts, they are trying to ban online casino players by blocking top online casino sites and cutting off revenue distribution.

Online gaming has been on a fast rise in Singapore as people are constantly placing bets on their smartphones on mobile casinos, on their home computers and at the office. According to Asia News Network, last year, top online casino sites raked in $357 million from players in Singapore. In contrast, the figure was $312 million in 2010 and $271 million in 2009.

Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports recently labeled online gaming and top rated online casino sites as “an emerging concern” to the country.

MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC Zaqy Mohamad said, “To a certain sense, it will be difficult to police. It’s something we probably have to study in greater detail. It’s the same issue we have with pornography. It’s difficult to monitor every single screen that goes on. Between online gaming and online gambling, there’s sometimes a fine line. If you play a casino online game for example, BlackJack, is that gambling? When do you consider it gambling – when you transact money or when it is just credits?”

Anne Chui, a counselor at the National Addictions Management Service, Institute of Mental Health has seen a rise in gambling addiction. The Institute believes that since online casino games are available and accessible 24/7, there is an increased chance for addiction.  In an effort to find solutions, Chui said,  “What can be done is the gambler himself can install a software on the computer that actually blocks out online casino games sites. I do see some of my patients doing that.”


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