Workers Party opposes online betting launch

Singapore’s Workers Party has expressed concern over the applications from Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club (STC) to launch online betting services, local media reports.

Earlier this month, The Straits Times reported that both lottery operators have applied to be exempted from laws that block online betting, conducting final tests of their online betting platforms and hoping to be exempted from the Remote Gambling Act by the end of this month.

However, the Worker’s Party argues the move is against the government’s clamp down on remote gambling.

“It makes little sense for the Government to close one door on remote gambling in order to ‘protect young persons and other vulnerable persons’, while opening another door that exposes them to the ills of gambling in their homes,” said Pritam Singh, assistant secretary-general of the opposition party, said in a statement on Tuesday.

“When the government decided to clamp down on remote gambling in 2014, it cited concerns about addictive behaviour and easy access to these games. Should the Government approve their applications, Singapore Pools and STC will have 24/7 virtual betting outlets available in almost every home and mobile device,” Singh said, whose party is calling on the Government to reject the applications for exemption.

“The social costs of gambling on families are well documented, and the number of problem gambling cases in Singapore has been on the rise,” he added.