Gambling is tightly controlled in Singapore so if you’re living in the country it’s important to be aware of the current situation.
Check out the key info you need to know if you want to gamble online in our guide to Singapore gambling below.
Key Facts: Online Gambling In Singapore
- Most forms of gambling technically illegal in Singapore.
- Regulated by Ministry of Home Affairs & Gambling Suppression branch of police force.
- Some legalised offline gambling in casinos, with Singapore Turf Club & Totalisator Board.
- Singapore Pools the only legal online gambling site.
- Players have been prosecuted for using international sites.
Note: if you’re living in Singapore we do not recommend using international sites for online gambling. Prison time and hefty fines await those caught and prosecuted for doing so.
Gambling Timeline: Laws & Legislation
Singapore has a great deal of legislation related to gambling, most of which deals with the prohibition of the activity. The following timeline covers the main examples of that legislation:
1960 – Betting Act
In 1960, Singapore passed the Betting Act in order to ‘suppress common betting-houses, betting in public places and bookmaking’. The act essentially prohibits all of those activities, but does allow leeway for certain organisations to be exempted from the act by the relevant authorities.
1961 – Common Gaming Houses Act
Similar to the Betting Act, the 1961 Common Gaming Houses Act was designed for the ‘suppression of common gaming houses, public gaming and public lotteries’. Once again, the ability for authorities to grant exemptions was enshrined within the act.
1998 – Singapore Turf Club Exemption
It was in 1998 that the Singapore Turf Club was granted its exemption from the 1960 Betting Act. This allowed the organisation to offer and to advertise horse racing betting in Singapore, Malaysia or overseas at approved locations.
2004 – Singapore Totalisator Board Exemption
Six years later in 2004, the Singapore Totalisator Board was granted its own exemption from the Betting Act. This exemption allowed the organisation to carry out lotteries and to offer football betting on matches at home and abroad as well as a selection of further sports betting.
2006 – Casino Control Act
Singapore’s 2006 Casino Control Act made provision for the operation and regulation of casinos within Singapore. It stipulated that only two casinos could be licensed, introduced certain levies which had to be paid by players at those casinos and established organisations to combat problem gambling.
2014 – Remote Gambling Act
It is Singapore’s 2014 Remote Gambling Act which essentially makes all online gambling in Singapore illegal. The act states that any individual who ‘gambles using remote communication and using a remote gambling service that is not provided by an exempt operator’ is guilty of an offence.
It also states that such an individual is liable..
on conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.
Potential punishments for providers of unlawful remote gambling are also set down and are even harsher. Once again, exemptions are within the gift of the Singapore government.
2015 – Remote Gambling (Exempt Persons) Order
This addendum to the previous year’s act states that ‘if a person provides a remote gambling service for participation in an incidental lottery, customer lottery or non-commercial organisation lottery, that person is exempted from’ the Remote Gambling Act.
2016 – Potential Remote Gambling Exemptions
As of summer 2016 there have yet to be any official exemptions to the Remote Gambling Act granted by the government. It is believed by some, however, that both the Singapore Turf Club and the Singapore Pools could soon be granted the first two.
Do Players Get Taxed On Winnings?
As has been discussed in length above, all online gambling in Singapore is illegal and as such there is no mechanism – or possibility – for the collection of tax on online gambling winnings by the Singapore authorities.
When it comes to the legalised land-based gambling available in Singapore, there is no income tax applied to winnings but there are other levies. The Casino Control Act, for instance, states that ‘a citizen or permanent resident of Singapore cannot enter into or remain in a casino unless an entry levy of $100 for every consecutive period of 24 hours or $2,000 for an annual membership is paid to the casino’.
Online Deposit Options & Methods
Online gambling is illegal in Singapore. That means that there are no domestic based online gambling providers and that using overseas based sites is a criminal offence punishable by fine, imprisonment or both. For many Singapore citizens, therefore, the issue of deposit methods is not one which even enters the equation.
Some, however, do still take part in online gambling in spite of the strict legislation in place. The most popular betting deposit options are credit and debit cards (including American Express).