The government for Singapore has reportedly proposed a series of amendments to its laws that would legalize some forms of social gaming while simultaneously placing caps on video game ‘loot boxes’ and other associated prize-based rewards.

According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the propositions from the city-state’s Ministry of Home Affairs would alter current regulations so as to make social gaming among friends and family ‘explicitly permitted under legislation.’ The source detailed that these alterations are to now be subjected to a period of public consultation but would not apply to such activities carried out online among a wider player pool.

Future focus:

Singapore is home to approximately 5.7 million people with its government said to be keen on revising its laws on gaming laws in order to make sure such rules remain effective in the face of ever-evolving products and business models. The proposals would also purportedly institute an around $74 limit on the value of prizes that can be offered via ‘loot boxes’ as well as land-based claw machines and arcade games without ramping up operators’ regulatory burden.

Reportedly read a statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs…

“We recognize that gambling amongst family and friends in homes is socially acceptable with many Singaporeans and poses low law and order concerns. Hence, we are proposing to exempt physical social gambling among family and friends subject to conditions that safeguard against criminal exploitation. Social gambling among family and friends will thus be explicitly permitted under legislation. We will take strong enforcement action against syndicates that exploit this exemption to conduct illegal gambling activities.”

Previous provision:

Inside Asian Gaming reported that the proposed amendments from the Ministry of Home Affairs is moreover part of an ongoing effort to institute a nationwide ‘technology-neutral’ definition of gambling that would cover activities making use of emerging innovations. The government department purportedly pointed to its integrated resorts model, which led to the 2010 openings of the jurisdiction’s Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands facilities, as indicative of its ‘strict but practical approach’ to the regulation of such activities.

Operator obligation:

The Ministry of Home Affairs reportedly declared that the envisioned propositions furthermore intend to bring in greater sanctions for ‘repeat offenders who facilitate or operate illegal gambling services.’ However, the department purportedly simultaneously pronounced that such penalties would be lower ‘for punters of illegal gambling services’ as it wants to ‘focus our enforcement efforts on illegal gambling agents and operators.’

Reportedly read the Ministry of Home Affairs’ statement…

“It is not practical nor, in fact, desirable to disallow all forms of gambling as this would just drive it underground and cause more law and order issues. Instead, we license or exempt some gambling activities with strict safeguards put in place. Our laws governing gambling seek to maintain law and order and the minimize social harms caused by problem gambling.”