SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced on Thursday (July 20) that regulations on jackpot machines will be tightened over the next two years.
This is aimed at ensuring that clubs operate them as only an "ancillary" part of broader recreational activities, and to protect people from the potential harm of gambling, it added.
The key changes involve more stringent criteria for jackpot machine permits, more restrictive access to jackpot machine rooms, as well as social safeguards that include stopping individuals with casino exclusions from entering these rooms.
More stringent criteria for permits:
- For future renewals and applications of jackpot machine permits, the permit officer appointed by MHA will assess if clubs provide a suitably wide range of recreational and social facilities to members.
- Clubs that operate jackpot machines but do not meet the criteria must stop doing so by April 30 next year (2018).
- Currently, a club may be allowed to operate jackpot machines if it provides at least two other recreational facilities, among other factors.
Reducing availability and accessibility:
- While members aged 18 and above may enter fruit machine rooms now, the age limit will be raised to 21 from November this year.
- Members will no longer be able to bring guests into fruit machine rooms.
- The rooms may only be operated between 10am and 11pm.
- Entry to such rooms will also be restricted to individuals who hold membership terms of at least one year.
- Over the next two years, there will also be tighter quotas placed on jackpot machines.
- Clubs will be required to implement responsible gambling measures, such as disallowing ATMs, debit payment system Eftpos, and credit card facilities in jackpot machine rooms.
- Advertising and promotions of jackpot machines will also be prohibited within clubhouses, on the Internet, and on other media platforms. Currently, such promotions are prohibited only outside of clubhouses.
- From May next year (2018), clubs may not allow people who have casino exclusions, due to financial situations or family objections, into jackpot machine rooms.