When is Gambling Illegal in Singapore?

Last updated on October 19, 2018

 

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“Game” in this context refers to playing games of chance and skill, such as poker or “dai di” (Big Two). 🎲 It’s 1 of 3 categories of gambling, apart from lotteries (think 4D and Singapore Sweep) and betting (on horse races and football matches). – The answer’s C, by the way – gambling in public places (like a coffee shop) is illegal! 😔 That’s an offence punishable with up to a S$5,000 fine and/or up to 6 months’ jail. It’s also illegal to encourage someone to gamble in a public place, with heavier penalties of a fine of at least S$20,000 and up to 5 years’ jail. – The answer’s not A because gaming at a funeral appears to be considered as gaming in private! But regardless of where you’re playing, you should be safe if you aren’t playing for “money or money’s worth”. 😳 For example, if you were to play “dai di” without betting money, then you probably wouldn’t be committing an offence. Still, it’s best to avoid playing games involving poker cards in public – better to be safe than sorry! 🤧👌 #SingaporeLegalAdvice

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Gambling can generally be classified into 3 categories:

  1. Gaming, which generally refers to games of chance and skill. An example would be “Dai Di”, the card game also known as Big Two.
  2. Lotteries such as 4D or the Singapore Sweep
  3. Betting, which can include wagering on football matches or horse races.

Gaming is common in Singapore as a recreational activity. It would appear that gaming during funerals, a common sight in Singapore, is considered gaming in private. However, the operation of gambling dens is illegal. It is also illegal to game in public.

These acts are prohibited by the Common Gaming Houses Act. Therefore, gambling den operators and participants in public gaming can be liable for such offences. Obviously, legalised casinos in Singapore are exempt from these laws.

Furthermore, underground betting is also an offence prohibited by the Betting Act. Only legalised organisations such as Singapore Pools can conduct public betting in Singapore. Finally, jackpot machines are also banned in Singapore, in accordance with the Private Lotteries Act, except when permission is granted or as in the case of legalised casinos.

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