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Number of people suffering from gambling addiction continues to rise in Singapore

November 21, 2023 Singapore Crime & LegaliGaming & Gambling

In Singapore, the number of individuals seeking treatment for problem gambling ranged from 800 to 1,000 year between 2020 and 2022; a significant fraction of these individuals were involved in illegal online gaming.

This information was supplied by Sim Gim Guan, the chairman of Singapore’s National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), after an examination of cases submitted by Resilienz Clinic, the National Addictions Management Service of the Institute of Mental Health, and community-based social service groups. In Singapore, there is ongoing worry about illicit online gambling, despite ongoing efforts by authorities to curb its proliferation.

As of September, Singapore’s Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) has frozen over 260 bank accounts and blacklisted over 1,900 remote gambling sites in an aggressive effort to stop access to illegal gambling websites. The GRA collaborated with financial transaction providers to prevent around 115,000 credit card transactions linked to illegal gambling between January 2017 and September 2023. Notwithstanding these safeguards, the global reach of the internet presents challenges, allowing illicit gaming enterprises to cater to Singaporean consumers.

The GRA places a strong emphasis on steps to limit access to locations that provide a higher risk, particularly those that get a lot of traffic from Singapore. The GRA investigates if banning an illegal gambling website and its mirrors—additional URLs that direct users to the same platform—is warranted when it comes across such a site. After this assessment, Internet service providers get access blocking orders from the GRA telling them to restrict access to the listed websites.

Nonetheless, some illegal gaming websites are allowed to stay up and running since not all of them are convicted. A virtual private network is not required to visit some of these websites’ online casinos (VPN). Players are often drawn to these platforms by their user-friendliness, selection of games, and perhaps better odds compared to reputable gambling establishments.

Illegal gambling websites continue to lure gamers in with their offerings, despite Singapore Pools being the only authorized supplier of lottery and sports betting services. The increasing prevalence of gambling addiction is exacerbated by the accessibility provided by online platforms. Massive debt buildup is more likely since gaming websites make bank accounts and credit cards easily accessible.

The GRA acknowledges the challenges posed by the global nature of the internet, which promotes the creation of illicit gambling services despite significant efforts to address the issue. It is advised that anybody struggling with gambling problems get help from the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) or social care agencies, regardless of whether they play on licensed or unregulated websites. In Singapore, the focus of authorities is still mostly on treating the social and psychological aspects of gambling addiction.

Related Article About: Singapore

Original story by: The Star

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