Singapore Casinos to Be Governed by New Gaming Authority in 2021

Posted on: September 24, 2020, 11:47h. 

Last updated on: September 24, 2020, 12:30h.

Singapore’s two integrated casino resorts — Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa — will be regulated by a new gaming authority in the island city-state beginning in 2021.

Singapore casinos gambling regulator
The Singapore Casino Regulatory Authority is set to be replaced by a wider-reaching agency next year. (Image: GGRAsia)

The integrated resorts are currently governed by the Singapore Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA). The agency is responsible for ensuring that the management and operation of the casinos are carried out by suitable people and that the properties remain free from criminal influence and exploitation.

The CRA additionally guarantees that each casino’s gaming operations are conducted fairly and honestly and that gambling doesn’t result in harm to minors, vulnerable people, or society at large. But beginning in 2021, Singapore officials say the CRA will be no more. Instead, the city-state will launch the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA).

“The Ministry of Home Affairs will establish the Gambling Regulatory Authority and complete the review of gambling-related legislation in 2021,” a spokesperson for the casino agency told GGRAsia this week.

Las Vegas Sands and Genting Group, parent companies to the two Singapore casinos, agreed last year to each further invest $3.3 billion into their properties. In exchange, Singapore agreed to continue the operators’ duopoly on casino gambling through January 2031.

Gaming Regulator of the Future

Singapore legalized commercial gambling and authorized two IR permits in 2005. Now, 15 years later, the city-state believes an updated gaming regulatory agency is needed.

In comments to GGRAsia, the CRA spokesperson said the transition to the Gambling Regulatory Authority is to keep “abreast of technological and global trends.”

[GRA will be able to] respond faster to emerging products, in particular those that cut across different domains, and take a more holistic approach to gambling policies and issues,” the spokesperson explained.

The GRA will condense several regulatory units into one agency. Under the current arrangement, the CRA regulates land-based operations at Marina Bay Sands and RW Sentosa, while the Gambling Regulatory Unit of the Ministry of Home Affairs is tasked with supervising remote and offshore gambling.

The Singapore Tote Board regulates the lottery and sports betting operated by Singapore Pools, a state-owned gaming company. The GRA will regulate the entire gaming industry in Singapore.

COVID-19 Impact

Singapore forced its two casinos to suspend operations in early April to slow the spread of COVID-19. They remained dark until July 1, the first day the CRA allowed them to welcome back guests.

The CRA has required the casinos to implement numerous safeguards to protect workers and guests. Gamblers must undergo temperature screenings, and wear face masks while inside.

Only Annual Levy Holders and casino rewards members can presently access the casino floors. Singaporeans who want to gamble can pay $2,220 for an annual ticket entry.

The CRA official, speaking to GGRAsia, said as of now, COVID-19 has not disrupted the city-state’s progression of establishing the Gambling Regulatory Authority.