Don’t gamble online in Singapore. Actually, it’s probably better if you don’t think about gambling in any way, shape, or form while inside the country’s borders. Singapore is known globally for its strict laws and harsh penalties. Punishments, including jail time, have been doled out for offences such as downloading music, using someone else’s Wi-Fi, and for stores that dare to sell chewing gum. So, as the country set out to design legislation to protect their youth, you can bet they outlined every possible circumstance and laid out severe consequences for those who don’t stay in line. As of October 7, 2014, Singapore operates under the Remote Gambling Act- a set of guidelines more comprehensive than any other in the world. What’s Allowed In all fairness, Singapore isn’t issuing a blanket no-online-gambling law. The government will provide exemptions to certain operators that request it, if the issuing authority feels it’s in the public interest to give one. It’s anticipated exemptions will only be provided to Singapore-based operators that are non-profit, or where revenue is donated to charity. It’s been largely suggested that the exemption was put in place to ensure the Singapore Tote Board could continue to operate. It’s a community outreach program that disperses funds to those in need. They collect money from the Turf Club, which offers race betting, and also from Singapore Pools, the regional lottery. What’s Not Allowed The Remote Gambling Act limits any kind of gambling, via remote devices, to only operators that have received exemption. Remote devices can include phones, faxes, computers, mobile devices and more. Their definition of gambling includes any “game of chance for money or moneys’ worth.” Perhaps they picked up on Japan’s law, which only covers money. Casinos there give out tokens, which are exchanged for prizes, which can then be exchanged for cash. Although there’s worry that the phrase “money’s worth” will ban social gaming, authorities have explained that the act will only be used to limit gambling. They reiterate that this was an added measure to prevent gambling by use of BitCoin or other virtual currency. Penalties The penalty for those who are caught gambling in a non-exempt remote venue may have to pay a fine up to 5,000 Singaporean dollars and/or may be imprisoned for up to six months. Betting agents, or any party who facilitates remote gambling, may be fined up to 200,000 Singaporean dollars and/or receive a prison sentence of up to five years. Anyone who provides remote gambling services may have to pay as much as 500,000 Singaporean dollars and/or face a seven-year sentence. It’s worth noting that the country intends to enforce the law regardless of where the betting venue is based and they expect all non-exempt operators to block players from Singapore on their own. There are additional penalties that may be enforced if even an exempt operator employs someone under the age of 21, or if a youth is encouraged to gamble in any way. Any party who employs and underage person, or facilitates betting for one, may face fines up to 300,000 Singaporean dollars and/or spend up to six years in jail. Other Things it Covers The Remote Gambling Act doesn’t just restrict the act of gambling, though. It also outlaws any form of advertising of remote gambling. It further establishes the right of the office of the Minister of Home Affairs to create and manage a list of banned sites. Internet service providers will be required, by law, to block any non-exempt gambling site. The Minister of Home Affairs will also be able to compel banks to block any transfers or payments to and from the non-exempt remote gambling venues. Any financial institution or Internet service provider that fails in in its duty may be required to pay a fine of up to half-a-million Singaporean dollars. As expected, Singapore hosts some of the harshest penalties, if not the harshest, in the whole world. They’ve also learned from the oversights of other countries and have found methods to ensure there are no loopholes. Although some exemptions will be provided, it seems most remote gaming will be unlawful. The majority of casino games, as well as poker, will not be permitted. There’s no word on how Singapore intends to follow up with remote gambling entities outside the country that try to serve their citizens games. However, officials feel it will be highly unlikely this will come into play, because of the internet service provider and financial institution guidelines and penalties in place. There is also still debate on whether exemptions should be permitted at all. Opponents of this portion of the act worry that it sends a mixed message or allows for favoritism. Overall, though, the remote gaming act was intended to closely mirror their guidelines for land-based casinos. So, if you do happen to find yourself in Singapore and are itching to place a bet, be sure to double check the venue’s exempt status, or you might not be leaving the country for as much as six months.