Browse topics

  • Governing law
    NameLaw or Code?
    Common Gaming Houses Act (Cap. 49) ('CGHA') Law
    Common Gaming Houses (Exemption) Notification Subsidiary Legislation (Notification)
    Remote Gambling Act 2014 ('RGA') Law
    Remote Gambling (Exempt Persons) Order 2015 Subsidiary Legislation
    Private Lotteries Act (Cap. 250) ('PLA') Law
    Betting and Sweepstakes Duties Act ('BSDA') Law
    Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (No. 26 of 2012) ('PDPA') Law

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Extra-territoriality

    Yes. Even if they operate purely online and outside Singapore, entities conducting prize promotions with a Singapore-customer link and which qualify as a 'remote gambling service' must comply with the provisions of the RGA.

    For the purposes of the RGA, a remote gambling service has a Singapore-customer link if any of the customers are physically present in Singapore.

    'Remote gambling service' under the RGA is defined broadly to cover services including the following:

    • Conducting a public lottery

    • Supply of any public lottery tickets

    • Negotiating, placing, making, receiving or accepting of bets, or

    • A game of chance where the game is played for money or money's worth (as defined below), and a customer of the service agrees to give money or money's worth (as defined below) to play or enter the game

    where such services are provided via the use of remote communication, such as the internet, telephone, television, radio or any other kind of electronic or other technology for facilitating communication.

    For the purposes of the RGA, 'public lottery' means any game, method, device, scheme or competition whereby money or money’s worth (as defined below) is distributed or allotted in any manner depending upon or to be determined by chance, and to which the public have access to (regardless of whether it is held, drawn, exercised or managed within or outside Singapore). Every lottery is treated as a public lottery until the contrary is proved, and a 'game of chance' includes a game that involves both an element of chance and an element of skill, or a game that is presented as involving an element of chance.

    For the purposes of the RGA, 'money's worth' means anything recognized as equivalent to money and includes virtual credits, virtual coins, virtual tokens, virtual objects or any similar thing that is purchased in relation to a game of chance.

    Publishing a remote gambling advertisement and promoting remote gambling are also offences within the RGA. The provisions of the RGA are broadly drafted and the offence of promoting remote gambling includes the publishing of any writing or visual image that promotes a domain name or uniform resource locator (URL) relating to a particular remote gambling service. A person may be considered to have published a remote gambling service advertisement if the person includes the advertisement, or something that contains the advertisement, online or in any way that renders the advertisement accessible from the Internet.

    Enforcement of the RGA works in two main ways. Firstly, the Singapore Police Force collaborate with its foreign counterparts to provide and share evidence of unlawful remote gambling activities, with a view to prosecuting the offenders. This includes the possibility of extradition to Singapore under applicable treaties and the arrest and possible subsequent imprisonment of the offenders if they are found guilty. Secondly, the Singapore Police Force will take into account any complaints or feedback received from the public. For more information on enforcement please refer to the section on Penalties.

    Websites that provide unauthorized remote gambling services which are or may be used by individuals in Singapore to gamble, or contain a remote gambling service advertisement, will be blocked. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) can also block financial transactions or payments made in relation to participation in any unlawful remote gambling activity.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Skills competitions

    Yes, a prize promotion based on skill can be run in Singapore so long as it amounts to a 'game of skill' (as explained below) and does not fall within the ambit of the CGHA and the RGA.

    The CGHA defines a 'game' as being a game of chance or of a combination of chance and skill for a cash prize or money’s worth (ie anything recognized as equivalent to money), and 'lottery' as any game, method, device, scheme or competition whereby money or money’s worth is distributed or allotted in any manner depending upon or to be determined by chance. 'Public lottery' means a lottery to which the public or any class of the public have access to, and every lottery shall, until the contrary is proved, be deemed to be a public lottery. Please refer to the Extra-territoriality section for the definition of 'game of chance' in the RGA.

    As of yet there is no published case law in Singapore discussing these definitions. However, traditionally, games of chance or of a combination of chance and skill include for example lotteries, wagers and casino-style games such as roulette, while games of skill include for example, chess and checkers. Therefore, it could be assumed that in order for a game to be categorized as a game of skill, the element of chance would need to play little or no part in determining the outcome.

    Additionally, the definition of 'game of chance' in the CGHA and RGA is similar to the definition used in the UK's Gaming Act 1968, and there has been case law in the UK (R v Kelly [2008] EWCA Crim 137) explaining that 'games of combined skill and chance' shall be treated as games of chance without qualification, except in circumstances where the element of chance was so insignificant as not to matter.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Prize draws

    On the assumption that such a prize promotion falls within the definition of 'public lottery' as defined in the RGA (please see section on skill based competition) and/or the CGHA then such a prize promotion is unlawful. However, it would be allowed if it qualified under one of the prescribed statutory exemptions.

    Under the Remote Gambling (Exempt Persons) Order 2015, the following remote gambling services are exempt subject to certain conditions:

    • Public lotteries conducted by a business organization to promote the sale of products and services (other than a gambling service) sold or supplied by that business organization in the course of business in Singapore ('Customer Lotteries'). The business organization must not charge a fee to enter the lottery, except a reasonable fee for the value of the product or service where sold or supplied.

    • Lotteries promoted by charities or institutions of public character ('Non-commercial Organization Lotteries').

    • Public lotteries incidental to events such as fairs, dinners, sporting or athletic events or other similar events taking place in Singapore that may be attended by members of the public ('Incidental Lotteries'). The organizers of the event must not charge a fee to enter the lottery, except any reasonable fees for attending the connected event.

    Under the Common Gaming Houses (Exemption) Notifications, the following public lotteries are exempt subject to certain conditions:

    • Public lotteries conducted by a business organization for the purposes of promoting the sale of any product or service are exempt from the CGHA ('Sales Lotteries')

    • Lotteries promoted by certain charities or institutions of public character

    Private lotteries, which are lotteries in which tickets or chances are confined for sale only to members of a society which is established for purposes not connected with gaming, wagering or lotteries, are governed by the PLA. Under the PLA, private lotteries are prohibited unless a permit is granted.

    Besides this, any person or organization running sweepstakes in Singapore may apply to the MHA to get an exemption under the CGHA or the RGA.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Selection of winners

    We are not aware of any requirements in relation to the selection of winners and the award of prizes in the context of 'prize draws'.

    In the context of certain exempt public lotteries such as Customer Lotteries and Non-commercial Organization Lotteries, it is a requirement that these lotteries do not include a 'Roll-over'. A 'Roll-over' is an arrangement whereby if a prize is not allocated or claimed in one lottery, the value of the prizes available for allocation in another lottery increases.

    When an exemption to conduct a draw is granted to an organization by the MHA, pursuant to the general exemptions available within either the RGA or the CGHA, then such exemption is subject to certain conditions that the MHA may impose, including:

    • The methodology of the promotion, the details of the prizes to be distributed, their manner of distribution and where the winners are determined solely or partly by a draw, the time, date and place of the draw must be disclosed in print material, copies of which must be freely available to all participants.

    • Each draw must be conducted in public or, if conducted in private by means of a computerized system, be witnessed and audited by a public accountant who is not in the employment of the organization.

    Generally, in respect of permits granted under the PLA, the permit officer may in granting any permit impose conditions specifying:

    • The amount and number of prizes to be offered

    • The number of tickets or chances to be offered for sale in such lottery and the prices and denominations of such tickets or chances

    • The persons by whom, the manner in which, and the places at which, the tickets or chances may be sold or distributed and the persons or classes of persons to whom the tickets or chances may be sold or distributed, and

    • The time, place and manner in which the winners of prizes will be determined

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Judges

    There are no such statutory requirements.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Prizes

    Please refer to the section on Selection of winners.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Registration requirements and fees

    Registration Requirements

    The operation of prize draws in Singapore is generally prohibited unless they fall under one of the statutory exceptions or the organizations apply for an exemption with the MHA to carry out certain prize promotion activities.

    Under the RGA, a person can apply for a certificate of exemption that would authorize it to provide a Singapore-based remote gambling service with a Singapore-customer link where:

    • The service is provided in the course of carrying on a business in Singapore

    • The central management and control of the service is in Singapore

    • Any relevant internet content is hosted in Singapore

    Fees / Taxes Payable

    We are not aware of applicable taxes pursuant to the RGA as remote gambling is currently prohibited under the RGA unless a certificate of exemption has been granted.

    The CGHA and the PLA do not expressly set out eligibility criteria for a grant of an exemption from the prohibitions set out in the CGHA, or a permit pursuant to the PLA. The exemptions and permits are granted on a case-by-case basis.

    Under the PLA, the promoter of a private lottery is required to pay a duty of 30% on the total amount raised from any private lottery, unless it is conducted using a fruit machine (slot/poker machine).

    Pursuant to the CGHA, there are no duties levied on prize promotions, provided that the prize promotion excludes the placing of bets, or the promotion of sweepstakes, on the result of a horserace or other race, regardless of whether the race takes place in Singapore or elsewhere.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Other local requirements

    Apart from compliance with applicable gambling legislation as set out in the foregoing responses, there are generally no key local requirements for the operation of prize promotions per se. However, it would be prudent for organizations that run prize promotions to be aware of Singapore data protection laws which they are likely to be bound by. In this regard, such organizations must observe and comply with the requirements under the PDPA when collecting data for the purpose of administering and managing any prize draws, competitions, promotional offers and other marketing activities.

    The PDPA governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal data by all private organizations. Promoters must:

    • Inform participants on the purposes for collection, use and disclosure of their personal data during collection

    • Ensure that consent has been obtained from participants before collecting, using or disclosure of the personal data, and

    • Keep personal data in their possession secure from unauthorized access, modification, disclosure, use or copying (either in hardcopy or electronic form)

    As a general rule, organizations may wish to note that they should avoid collecting, retaining or disclosing more personal data than is necessary to fulfil the relevant purpose. For example, when publishing personal data of the winners of a lucky draw, organizations are advised to reveal only a portion of their National Registration Identity Card (NRIC) number, such as the last three digits and the letter. Organizations should use the full NRIC number only when necessary, for example to confirm the identity of someone who is coming forth to receive the winning prize.

    Additionally, organizations operating prize promotions may also be bound by local consumer protection laws, such as the Unfair Contract Terms Act.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Timing

    For organizations running prize promotions that qualify under any of the exemptions in the Remote Gambling (Exempt Persons) Order 2015 (as discussed in the section regarding competitions based on chance) there is a standard condition that at least 4 weeks before any advertisement promoting or intended to promote a remote gambling service is published, the Head of the Specialized Crime Policy Branch, Criminal Investigation Department, of the Singapore Police Force is given the details of how any prize which is not won, or which is left unclaimed after 2 months of the announcement of the winners, is to be disposed of by the organization providing that service.

    In respect of exempt prize promotions under the Common Gaming Houses (Exemption) Notifications (as discussed in the section regarding competitions based on chance), the following details must be disclosed on printed publicity material:

    • The methodology of the promotion

    • The details of the prizes to be distributed and their manner of distribution, and

    • If the winners are determined solely or partly by a draw, the time, date and place of the draw

    Copies of the above information must be freely available to all participants and 2 copies must be sent to the Head Gambling Suppression Branch, Criminal Investigation Department, at least 4 weeks prior to the launch of the promotion.

    For qualifying prize promotions under each of the CGHA or the RGA, the above information must be notified to Criminal Investigation Department 4 weeks before the launch of the promotion in the prescribed manner.

    Importantly please note that applying to the MHA for a permit or exemption to carry out a prize promotion can be a time-consuming process depending on the type of permit or exemption being applied for. According to the Singapore Police Force website, the normal processing time for an application for a private lotteries permit is approximately 14 working days from the receipt of the application and the necessary supporting documents. General applications for exemptions under the RGA and the CGHA may take up to approximately 1 month to process. For a certificate of exemption under the RGA (referenced above in question 8), the Ministry of Home Affairs has stated that it would generally take between 9 to 12 months to evaluate and assess such applications.

    Furthermore, please allow for additional time as specific conditions may be imposed on the organization on the granting of a permit to run the prize promotion.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Translations

    None required.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Penalties for non-compliance

    Offences under the CHGA are punishable by fines ranging from S$5,000 (approx. US$3,500) to S$200,000 (approx. US$140,000), and imprisonment for a term of up to 3 years (depending on the breach and the party committing it). In sentencing, the court will have regard to the scale of the gaming activities and the amount of the tickets involved. The penalty given depends on a case by case basis taking into account the facts of each case.

    The provision of an unlawful remote gambling service, including the provision of an overseas remote gambling service with a Singapore-customer link, in violation of the RGA, is punishable by fines of up to S$500,000 (approx. US$350,000), or imprisonment for a term of up to 7 years or both (depending on the breach and the party committing it). As the RGA is a relatively new piece of legislation in Singapore, there is limited examples and precedence on enforcement.

    For breach of the PDPA, the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) may issue administrative fines of up to S$1,000,000 (approx. US$700,000) for violations. The PDPA also imposes criminal sanctions, including fines of up to S$100,000 (approx. US$70,000) and 12 months imprisonment. In calculating a financial penalty, the PDPC has a non-exhaustive list of aggravating and mitigating factors that it may consider.

    This includes but is not limited to:

    • Failing to comply with a previous warning or direction from the PDPC

    • A failure of the organization to actively resolve the matter with the individual in an effective and prompt manner, and

    • Intentional, repeated and/or ongoing breaches of the PDPA by an organization. This would include situations where the organization knew, or ought reasonably to have known, of the risk of a breach, or breach of the PDPA but continued with its operations without taking measures to minimize the risk or remedy the breach.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Restrictiveness of regulations

    The rules under the applicable prize promotion regulations are detailed though not unduly onerous. There are no formal registration requirements unless a specific exemption is being sought. Exempt prize promotions, including lotteries, are permitted as long as the conditions set out in the relevant statutes have been met.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Regularity of sanctions

    According to the MHA website, since the RGA came into operation on 2 February 2015, several hundred websites which provide remote gambling services have been blocked. In addition, financial institutions and financial service providers have been directed to block credit card and other payment transactions related to remote gambling.

    It is expected that the Singapore Police Force will continue to take enforcement action against those who provide illegal gambling services from both remote and land-based sources.

    Last modified 10 Feb 2017

  • Key contacts
    Katherine Chew
    Katherine Chew
    Of Counsel DLA Piper Singapore Pte. Ltd. [email protected] T +65 6512 6046 View bio
    Andhari Sidharta
    Andhari Sidharta
    Legal Officer DLA Piper Singapore Pte. Ltd. [email protected] T +65 6512 6037

Governing law

What are the applicable governing laws or codes for prize promotions?

Singapore

Singapore

NameLaw or Code?
Common Gaming Houses Act (Cap. 49) ('CGHA') Law
Common Gaming Houses (Exemption) Notification Subsidiary Legislation (Notification)
Remote Gambling Act 2014 ('RGA') Law
Remote Gambling (Exempt Persons) Order 2015 Subsidiary Legislation
Private Lotteries Act (Cap. 250) ('PLA') Law
Betting and Sweepstakes Duties Act ('BSDA') Law
Personal Data Protection Act 2012 (No. 26 of 2012) ('PDPA') Law