Singapore’s Organized Crime Act just bagged its first major sting operation and blew the lid off a multi-million dollar illegal credit-based online betting ring. With seized assets ranging from bank accounts holding $6.5 million to over 36 real estate properties with a combined value of $39 million, the gambling ring is the first legal crackdown since Singapore officially approved and launched its state-run online gambling sites.
Singapore Pools Sports Lottery Service and Singapore Turf Club, which are powered by OpenBet, have become Singapore’s sole channel for funneling the inevitable online gambling activity that is occurring in higher amounts all over the world with the advancement of technology and internet connectivity. This effort to bottleneck online wagers toward state-run sites is the desired effect of the 2014 Remote Gambling Act (RGA), which threatens violators with up to seven years of prison time and puts in place a series of strict policies designed to mitigate problem gambling.
The RGA hinges on these stipulations meant to prevent gambling addiction and underage gambling in the Singaporean population, which came as a result of the intense amount of cultural backlash the Gambling proposal received from religious groups that felt legalizing online gambling would begin to unravel the health and well-being of Singaporeans.
Eventually, proponents of the bill made it clear that online gambling was occurring in Singapore one way or another, but that being unregulated and untaxed would enable organized crime to create a substantial foothold for itself. Which is the reason the 2014 OCA ( Organized Crime Act) threatens violators with fines of $100,000 and five years of prison time.
This most recent crackdown is likely the first time these penalties will be carried out by the Singapore government, and thus potentially acting as a future deterrent. Thirty locations were raided where it is believed upwards of $2 million in bets were fielded in the last month alone, resulting in 24 men and 9 women likely being sentenced to ponying up the fines and jail time in response to their disobedience under the new Singaporean laws and regulatory system for online betting.