SINGAPORE: The National Council of Churches (NCCS) said on Wednesday (Oct 5) that it is "deeply concerned" with the legalisation of online gambling, after the Government announced the legalisation of online betting services for two operators, Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club, last Thursday.
In a press release, NCCS said it is concerned that the Government was sending "confusing and conflicting signals" with the partial lift of the ban.
"On the one hand, the Remote Gambling Act (RGA) criminalises remote gambling, but on the other hand, the Government is legalising some forms of remote gambling provided by authorised operators," it said.
"The council finds it difficult to accept the rationale that ‘a complete ban would only
serve to drive remote gambling underground, making it harder to detect’. That ‘a
tightly-controlled valve is allowed as part of the ecosystem to minimise law and order concerns’ cannot be the best option for Singapore," the council added.
Expressing worries that "serious social problems" would be exacerbated by the legalisation of online gambling "despite stringent safeguards and controls", NCCS appealed to the Government to review the plans to exempt operators under the RGA.
"The council is particularly concerned about the adverse personal, familial and social impacts of online or Internet gambling – all of which have been well-documented," it said.
"The NCCS believes that removing the temptation of gambling from living rooms and work spaces will ultimately strengthen the fabric of our society for generations to come. We affirm the national ethos of working hard for the quality of life one aspires to as a fundamental societal value which has brought Singapore to where she is today," it added.