Allowing Singapore’s two operators to offer online betting provides a regulated and safer platform for gamblers, said Tan Chuan-Jin, the Minister for Social and Family Development, local media reports.
Mr Tan’s remarks came the day after Singapore’s National Council of Churches criticized the government’s easing of the ban, saying it is sending “confusing and conflicting signals.”
When asked to respond to the comment, Tan stressed while the government shares the concerns of the groups, but said it wasn’t possible to “completely eradicate the problem”.
“You can close down sites, but new sites will be set up, sometimes faster than you can close them down,” he said, quoted by Channel NewsAsia.
“It is a global market with a lot of money to be made, and the worst thing is that it is unregulated and there are no safety measures in place.”
People will continue to be drawn to these sites, and “we want to look out for those individuals”.
Tan said the government decided to have “a tightly controlled outlet” to moderate any problems and preventing it from growing more than it should.
Adding he was encouraged by examples from Hong Kong and Norway.
“What they’ve found is that it hasn’t exacerbated the situation at all,” he said.