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Singapore casinos will face greater global competition, disruption, says minister

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Given the increasingly complex gaming landscape in Singapore, there is a need to consider greater consolidation of casino regulatory functions, said Second Minister for Manpower and Home Affairs Josephine Teo.

GIVEN the increasingly complex gaming landscape in Singapore, there is a need to consider greater consolidation of casino regulatory functions, said Second Minister for Manpower and Home Affairs Josephine Teo.

Today, Singapore has different regulations and agencies governing gambling products such as casinos, remote gambling and fruit machines operated by private clubs, she noted at the annual Workplan Seminar of the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) on Friday.

"This piecemeal approach will not be sustainable or adequate to deal with the growing complexities of the gambling landscape and products," said Mrs Teo.

The seminar, held at Biopolis in conjunction with a commemoration of the CRA's 10th anniversary, outlined the authority's history and highlighted its future challenges.

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One challenge is that Singapore's casinos face increasing regional competition.

"Competition for tourism revenues will get more intense," Mrs Teo said. "Many jurisdictions are keenly studying our Integrated Resort (IR) concept. Our IRs will be anxious to stay ahead of the competition."

The next challenge is that of technological disruption, in which new machines, game types and modes of payment have transformative implications on how casino regulators establish controls.

Mrs Teo said this is where it is necessary for the regulatory landscape to evolve, to allow a more "holistic and coherent" system to maintain the fine balance between leeway for innovation and effective regulation.

In preparation for these developments, the Ministry of Home Affairs has started studying the broader gaming regulatory regime in Singapore.

Mrs Teo called on the CRA to build up "stamina, capabilities, strategies and integrity" in adapting to new demands.

"We must be smarter than those we are seeking to regulate," she added.

THE STRAITS TIMES

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