Remote gambling bill could have 'negative effects' for digital games

SINGAPORE - Players of social and video games could be affected by new laws that ban Internet and telephone gambling in Singapore.

The remote gambling bill is scheduled to receive its second reading on Oct 7 but the International Social Games Association (ISGA), a global non-profit trade association, is worried that some of the bill's definitions could prove problematic.

For instance, "money's worth" is defined as "anything recognised as equivalent to money and includes virtual credits, virtual coins, virtual tokens, virtual objects or any similar thing that is purchased within, or as part of, or in relation to, a game of chance".

Almost all social games contain an element of both chance and skill as well as in-game currency, the association said. Some games which might be affected include Angry Birds and FarmVille.

In a statement released on Friday, the association said: "The ISGA is fully supportive of the Singapore government's efforts to prohibit illegal Internet gambling.

"However, we believe that the drafted bill will inadvertently encompass legitimate activities and technology businesses, going far beyond the government's concern on Internet gambling. In fact, it would have material negative effects on the future of Singapore's digital economy development and the video games industry globally."