Singapore could be a major online casino hub

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Mar 4, 2021

The ideal place to host and regulate online gambling, says software provider

In an interesting Asian snapshot of online gambling’s Asian Casinos Executive Summit this week, the Singapore News Today says that with two major land casinos in the pipeline, online casino operators in the region are now hoping that Singapore will consider issuing Internet gaming licences as well.

Currently, Philippines is the only Asian country to offer Internet gaming licences for online casino operators through the Cagayan Special Economic Zone, providing a hub complete with Internet server, telecommunication connections, collection payment system and toll-free telephone operations for Internet gaming companies. Since the Philippines passed its Interactive Gaming Act in 2003, over 40 online gaming companies have obtained licences.

The publication quotes Tom Hall, president of gambling software provider Playtech Asia, as saying: “Singapore has fantastic technical support and infrastructure. Given a choice between the Philippines and Singapore, many will probably prefer Singapore.”

Gaming experts at the Asian Casinos Executive Summit agreed that online gaming – which makes up a mere 5 percent of the US$250 billion global gaming market – is poised to grow, especially in Asia.

For the Philippines, allowing online casinos was the next logical move since it already has several land-based casinos, said Hall. Moreover, the government could earn tax dollars from gaming activities outside their country. Online casino operators in the Philippines pay a 2 percent tax on their gross winnings.

“It’s the norm for the licensing country to ban operators from marketing to the local population, as done in places such as Costa Rica and Antigua,” said Hall, adding that the gambling software that Playtech produces for operators based in the Philippines is set up to ban local Internet addresses.

“Obviously, we’d prefer the Government to regulate online gambling and tax it, rather than prohibiting it completely,” he said.

According to Peter Kjaer, chief executive of DrHo888.com which is hosted in Costa Rica, Singaporean players make up around 5 percent of annual turnover, or as much as the whole of North American bets on the website.

Brian Cullingworth

Infopowa news was a staple of Casinomeister’s news from 2000 until 2019. Brian Cullingworth was the main writer, contributor, and was one of the most knowledgeable persons I have ever known involved in the online casino industry.

We first met in January 2001 at the ICE in London where I observed him going booth to booth interviewing online casino, software, and licensing jurisdiction representatives. Brian was also heavily involved with our forum as “Jetset“, he was involved as an informal consultant to eCOGRA, the OPA, and was a player advocate who assisted countless aggrieved players with his connections to industry folks. He also published “Casino Cautions” via Infopowa news for quite a number of years. These can be found in our news archives.

His passing in February 2019 was a dark day for us. He will be forever missed.


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