The newly formed Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) has announced a complete ban on the use of cryptocurrencies in land-based casinos, reported Inside Asian Gaming.
Regulator Aims to Prevent Cryptocurrency Usage in Singaporean Casinos
Albert Yeo, GRA’s General Counsel, stated that casinos have no appetite for the volatile revenue stream associated with cryptocurrencies. The agency aims to prevent digital currencies from even entering the casinos, as allowing their use could prove difficult to stop once it began. Yeo added that the agency is examining legislative frameworks to prevent their use in casinos.
Yeo revealed that the agency is currently engaging with game developers to understand the implications of blockchain-based games like Axie Infinity, where players can trade NFTs and earn Rare Antiquities Tokens. The regulator is grappling with whether this currency constitutes money, money equivalent, or anything of value. If players earn cryptocurrency in the game, they can easily take it out and put it on exchanges.
Singapore’s broader reluctance to regulate the trading or use of cryptocurrencies extends to a ban on advertising by crypto exchanges. The Monetary Authority of Singapore, in a statement issued last November, emphasized the risks of dealing in cryptocurrencies, stating that crypto exchanges can and do fail and cryptocurrencies themselves are highly volatile, with many losing all value.
GRA Takes Holistic and Agile Approach to Regulate Singapore’s Gambling Landscape
The Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA), established in August 2022 to oversee the entire gambling landscape in Singapore, is designed to keep pace with technological and gambling trends. Its attention is primarily focused on the use of crypto in online gaming, as tracking blockchain transactions poses a significant challenge for regulators.
The GRA replaced the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) and is overseeing all forms of gambling in the country, including new products that use technology to blur the line between gaming and gambling.
The GRA was established through the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Singapore Act and the Gambling Control Act, both of which were passed in March 2022 and came into force on August 1 of the same year.
The Ministry of Home Affairs reviewed and updated the Casino Control Act to reflect the changes in the industry, and the GRA refreshed the licensing regime to issue more licenses for higher and lower-risk gambling activities. The new regulator has pursued the goal to take a holistic and agile approach to keep up with the pace of change in the gambling industry.