Casino Control Act

Singapore Infopedia


The Casino Control Act was enacted in 2006 to regulate the operations and gaming in casinos in preparation for the opening of the Integrated Resorts (IRs). It established and made provision for the Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore (CRA) to administer and enforce the Act, and empowers the National Council on Problem Gambling to issue casino exclusion orders.1 In 2022, the Casino Control Act came under the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA), which was formed from the CRA.2

Gambling in Singapore has been by and large tightly regulated to minimise potential harm to society. Most forms of gambling are prohibited apart from a few authorised activities managed by the Singapore Turf Club and Singapore Pools.3

On 18 April 2005, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the Cabinet’s decision to develop two IRs at Marina Bayfront and Sentosa. Besides casinos, these IRs would also have hotels, shopping malls, convention spaces and other amenities. In his speech, PM Lee explained that the government’s long-standing policy to resist setting up casinos had changed, due to concerns over losing economic competitiveness and in areas such as tourism to other cosmopolitan cities.4

A national framework was put in place to address problems that could arise from gambling. These included a new regulatory agency – the CRA – to regulate the casinos, a new legislative measure in the form of the Casino Control Act, and a national council to address problem gambling and provide access to professional medical treatment for gambling addiction.5

The Casino Control Bill was tabled by then Minister for Home Affairs Wong Kan Seng and passed by Parliament on 14 February 2006. It authorised the award of a maximum of two casino licenses for a period of 10 years commencing from the date when a second site for a casino was designated.6 The two IRs were subsequently awarded to Las Vegas Sands Corporation (Marina Bayfront) and Genting-Star Cruises Consortium (Sentosa).7

The CRA was established on 2 April 2008 as the main casino watchdog and administered the Casino Control Act. On 1 August 2022, the Act came under the purview of the GRA, which was formed from the CRA.8

Casino Control Act 2008
The Casino Control Act drew references from the statutes of countries such as United States and Australia. The objectives of the Act can be broadly categorised into three areas. First, it establishes the incorporation of the CRA, which is supervised by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Act empowers the CRA to license and regulate the operations of casinos, approve any system of controls and administration of the casinos, and investigate offences committed in casinos in Singapore.9

Second, the Act sets out a regulatory regime for the casino operator and related business parties. It sets controls on the licensing of casino operators and requires the operators to seek approval for its system of internal controls, administrative and accounting procedures.10

Last, the Act provides social safeguards to counter the issue of problem gambling:
(1) Entry fees will be levied on Singapore citizens and permanent residents at $100 for every 24 hours in the casinos and $2,000 annual membership. 
(2) Persons below 21 years old are prohibited from entering the casinos.
(3) Casino and junket operators are prohibited from extending credit to Singapore citizens and permanent residents, unless they are premium players as defined in the Act. 
(4) Automated teller machines (ATMs) are prohibited within the casinos. 
(5) National Council on Problem Gambling will be established and empowered to issue exclusion orders to stop problem gamblers from entering the casinos.11

Casino Control (Amendment) Act 2009
The Casino Control (Amendment) Act 2009 makes the collection of casino tax more efficient and implements more social safeguards, such as increasing the casino operators’ penalties for filing incorrect tax returns, and making the process of seeking casino exclusion orders easier.12

The Casino Control (Amendment) Act 2012
In 2012, the Singapore government conducted a major review of the Casino Control Act and its regulations after two years of regulating the IRs, to ensure continued economic benefits of the casinos while minimising social ills and crime.13

The Casino Control (Amendment) Act 2012 broadly covers five areas:
(1) Enhanced provisions for effective gaming regulation, and streamlined regulatory processes to keep in pace with international best practices and industry developments
(2) Strengthened law enforcement levers to deal with casino-related crime
(3) More social safeguards such as introducing a new casino visit limit regime and a provisional family exclusion order
(4) A refined regulatory framework so that Singapore can benefit economically from the IRs
(5) Improved tax administration for consistency with other tax legislation14

The Casino Control (Amendment) Act 2012 was passed in Parliament on 16 November 2012.15 The amendments took effect on 31 January 2013.16

18 Apr 2005: PM Lee announces the Singapore government’s decision to proceed with the development of two Integrated Resorts (IR) with casinos.17
31 Aug 2005: Formation of National Council on Problem Gambling.18
17 Oct–11 Nov 2005: Ministry of Home Affairs puts up draft Casino Control Bill for public consultation.19
14 Feb 2006: Parliament passes the Casino Control Bill.20
2 Apr 2008: Formation of the CRA.21
15 Sep 2009: Parliament passes the Casino Control (Amendment) Bill.22
16 Nov 2012: Parliament passes the Casino Control (Amendment) Bill.23
1 Aug 2022: The Casino Control Act comes under the GRA, which is formed from the CRA.24

Lim Puay Ling and Shereen Tay

1. Wong Kan Seng, “The Casino Control Bill 2006,” speech, 13 February 2006, transcript, Ministry of Trade and Industry. (From NLB's Web Archives Singapore)
2. Ministry of Home Affairs, “Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore To Be Operational from 1 August 2022,” press release, 31 July 2022. (From NLB's Web Archives Singapore)
3. “Regulating Casino and Gambling Industry,Ministry of Home Affairs, last updated 2 August 2022. (From NLB's Web Archives Singapore)
4. Lee Hsien Loong, “Proposal to Develop Integrated Resorts,” speech, 18 April 2005, transcript, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. (From National Archives of Singapore document no. 2005041803)
5. Ven Sreenivasan, “New Council to Help Deal With Problem Gambling,” Business Times, 19 April 2005, 4; Natalie Soh, “Casino Watchdog Will Have Bite,” Straits Times, 20 October 2005, 5. (From NewspaperSG)
6. Wong, “The Casino Control Bill 2006”; Parliament of Singapore, Casino Control Bill, vol. 80 of Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 14 February 2006, cols. 2424–58.
7. Uma Shankari, “Sands Promises Huge Benefits for Singapore,” Business Times, 31 May 2006, 1; Krist Boo, “Genting Wins Sentosa IR Bid,” Straits Times, 9 December 2006, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
8. “Statutory Board for Regulating Casinos Starts Work,” Straits Times, 2 April 2008, 32 (From NewspaperSG); Ministry of Home Affairs, “Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore to Be Operational from 1 August 2022.”
9. Krist Boo, “Casino Based on Best Practices Overseas,” Straits Times, 14 February 2006, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
10. “Statutory Board for Regulating Casinos Starts Work.”
11. Chuang Peck Ming, “Govt to Relax Controls on Casino Operators,” Business Times, 14 February 2006, 12. (From NewspaperSG)
12. Lim Wei Chean, “Changes Made to Casino Control Act,” Straits Times, 16 September 2009, 28. (From NewspaperSG)
13. “Govt Reviewing Laws Governing IR Operations: Iswaran,” Today, 27 February 2012, 2; Ng Kai Ling, “Govt’s Approach to Regulating Casinos Hasn’t Changed: Iswaran,” Straits Times, 16 November 2012, 1. (From NewspaperSG)
14. Amir Hussain, “More Safeguards in Proposed Changes to Casino Control Act,” Today, 16 October 2012, 11; Tan Weizhen, “More Targeted Measures to Rein In Casino Visits,” Today, 16 November 2012, 1 (From NewspaperSG); Parliament of Singapore, Casino Control (Amendment) Bill, vol. 89 of Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 15 November 2012, cols. 1370–422.
15. Tan Weizhen, “‘Elaborate’ Safeguards in Place,” Today, 17 November 2012, 4. (From NewspaperSG)
16. Ng Kai Ling, “Casinos Act to Keep Patrons from Breaking New Law,” Straits Times, 30 January 2013, 6. (From NewspaperSG)
17. Lee, “Proposal to Develop Integrated Resorts.”
18. “Govt Names Problem Gambling Council Members,” Today, 1 September 2005, 6. (From NewspaperSG)
19. Alexandra Ho, “Govt Welcomes Your Views on Casino Bill,” Business Times, 15 October 2005, 9. (From NewspaperSG)
20. Parliament of Singapore, Casino Control Bill, 2424–58.
21. “Statutory Board for Regulating Casinos Starts Work.”
22. Lim, “Changes Made to Casino Control Act”; Parliament of Singapore, Casino Control (Amendment) Bill, vol. 86 of Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 15 September 2009, cols. 1501–538.
23. Parliament of Singapore, Casino Control (Amendment) Bill, vol. 89 of Parliamentary Debates: Official Report, 16 November 2012, cols. 1461–88.
24. Ministry of Home Affairs, “Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore.”

Further resources
Alexandra Ho, “Social Safeguards Dominate Feedback Views,” Business Times, 14 December 2005, 3. (From NewspaperSG)

Ansley Ng, “Novel Suggestions for Exclusion Orders,” Today, 16 September 2009, 6. (From NewspaperSG)

Casino Regulatory Authority,” last updated 2 October 2023. (From NLB's Web Archives Singapore)

Krist Boo and Marcel Pereira, “Bill on Casino Regulation Likely To Be Ready Next Year,” Straits Times, 28 September 2005, 4. (From NewspaperSG)

Lee Han Shih, “Take a Bet – How About a Casino or Two in S’pore?Business Times, 8 September 1998, 6. (From NewspaperSG)

Lee Han Shih, “Shouldn’t S’pore Take a Gamble?Business Times, 22 June 1999, 4. (From NewspaperSG)

The information in this article is valid as of September 2023 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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