Posted on: August 17, 2022, 07:16h. 

Last updated on: August 17, 2022, 10:11h.

Just weeks after Singapore finalized its new gambling regime, the country’s unified Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) has taken over. The agency officially launched yesterday with a ceremony that passed control to it from the former Casino Regulatory Authority.

Singapore casino
Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands resort, left, and the ArtScience Museum illuminated at night. Singapore is taking a step forward with its new gambling regulations, as the Gambling Regulatory Authority becomes active. (Image: Getty Images)

The inauguration highlights Singapore’s approach to gambling reform as online options become more common. The GRA will not only be the authority for land-based gambling, but will also be responsible for the digital segment.

To that end, more changes are coming to Singapore’s gambling legislation. Lawmakers will work with the GRA to create the new framework, details of which will be released later.

New Options, Crypto Drive Changes

With no online gambling options, there wasn’t much of a need to introduce gambling laws to cover the digital space. However, Singapore recognizes that changes are coming, and that it can’t ignore the growth of online casinos.

Attending the inauguration of the GRA on Tuesday was Singapore’s Second Minister for Home Affairs, Josephine Teo. As reported by The Straits Times, she made it abundantly clear that the country understands the potential online activities will play in gambling.

Teo highlighted the online segment and the challenges it brings to gaming regulation, pointing out the increased variety of options available to consumers in the digital space. For example, land-based casinos can’t swap out gaming equipment every time they want. However, online casinos regularly change available options on a whim, and introduce novel alternatives that gaming innovation delivers.

In addition, the prevalence of cryptocurrency plays a role in the development of online gaming regulations. There are some legitimate platforms that accept crypto. But there are also plenty of illegal gambling sites where digital currencies are the go-to payment method.

However, Singapore plans on addressing all of the potential issues that exist now and that may arise in the future. It is going to put its Casino Control Act through a major overhaul, and once it has finished, will publish its proposals. Teo did not indicate when that might occur.

GRA Ready to Take Over

Tan Tee How, the GRA’s inaugural chairman, is ready to get started. He said during yesterday’s ceremony that plans are in place to give the agency’s officials all the tools and authority they need to carry out their responsibilities properly. This also includes covering “new skills and competencies, such as data analytics and artificial intelligence.”

Because the GRA will oversee land-based and digital gaming, the regulator will have additional internal resources to carry out its tasks. At the same time, it plans on increasing efficiency and developing a “digitally-enabled workplace.”

Going forward, there are going to be more recognized gambling categories. However, the GRA plans on consolidating the licensing process for operators. This will allow it to meet its goal of introducing more structure to the legal gaming ecosystem while becoming more efficient.