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Workers’ Party aims to block Singapore Pools' online betting plans

The centre-left Workers’ Party of Singapore has urged the country’s government not to allow the Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club (STC) to offer their services online.

The party, which has nine seats in the country’s parliament, says that allowing these organisations to launch online may increase gambling problems in Singapore.

While the country outlawed iGaming in 2014, the legislation enforcing this ban included provisions for the STC and the Pools to apply for an exemption.

The Workers’ Party says that it notes “with concern” each company's application, adding that there is “no lack of legal gambling venues in Singapore,” with hundreds of outlets already accepting bets for both the Pools and the STC.

“When the government decided to clamp down on remote gambling in 2014, it cited concerns about addictive behaviour and easy access to these games,” Wokers’ Party assistant secretary general Pritam Singh explained. “Should the Government approve their applications, Singapore Pools and STC will have 24/7 virtual betting outlets available in almost every home and mobile device.”

The party believes that this convenience may encourage more players to “take up the habit,” which it says could lead to more serious gambling.

“It makes little sense for the government to close one door on remote gambling in order to ‘protect young persons and other vulnerable persons’, while opening another door that exposes them to the ills of gambling in their homes,” Singh added.

Having unsuccessfully campaigned for a total prohibition of online gambling without exception in Singapore’s 2015 General Election, Singh says that the Workers’ Party believes granting the Pools and the STC exemptions will undermine the goals of the government’s iGaming ban.

“We oppose the granting of exemptions to any organisation to operate remote and online betting services and we call on the government to reject these applications.”

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