Set conditions for online betting

As not-for-profit entities, if Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club are given the go-ahead to offer online betting products, they should ensure that the community is the biggest winner, by channelling earnings to charities and into community-strengthening and enhancement initiatives ("Legal online betting may be available soon" and "Online betting: Fear of rise in addiction"; both published on Thursday, "With ease of access, more will be tempted" by Dr Leonard Leng Qi An, and "Good for laws to keep up with technology" by Mr Lionel Loi Zhi Rui; both published yesterday).

In the light of laws passed early last year which criminalise remote gambling ("S'pore blocks hundreds of gambling websites"; Feb 3, 2015), there should be self-exclusion by vulnerable customers and auto-exclusion of minors, as part of controls to guard against addiction.

Some thought should also be given to devise innovative ways to offer more robust risk-managed online betting products.

One way is to allow customers to both back and lay a betting outcome, similar to what betting exchanges offer.

This will allow customers to hedge their risks and implement stop-loss limits, to exit a market outright to cut losses.

It behoves the authorities to ensure that the availability of online betting is delicately calibrated so that it does not inadvertently exacerbate problem gambling in Singapore.

Woon Wee Min

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2016, with the headline 'Set conditions for online betting'. Print Edition | Subscribe