Singapore has seen an island-wide clampdown on illegal horse betting, and a recent operation has led the police to identifying 89 men suspected of acting as bookmakers, runners and punters.
The suspects, aged between 34 and 87, are now being investigated for their involvement in illegal gambling activities. Ten are also being investigated under the Remote Gambling Act 2014, for offenses relating to the provision of unlawful remote gambling services.
A statement was made on Tuesday 22 February detailing a police raid in multiple locations across Singapore between 14 and 20 February, including areas such as Bedok, Beo Crescent, Marsiling, Jurong West, Telok Blangah Crescent and Toa Payoh.
During these raids, police seized more than $30,000 in cash, multiple mobile phones and documentation which included betting records.
The current law in Singapore states that anyone who is involved in unlawful remote gambling, or who places a bet with a bookmaker, can be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $5,000. In addition, anyone involved in bookmaking or who provides unlawful remote gambling services can be jailed for up to five years and fined up to $200,000.
Under the Gambling Control Bill, there are new laws being proposed that will see even harsher penalties placed on those involved in illegal gambling. The first reading of this Bill in Parliament was on 14 February.
It suggests a doubling of the current fine, meaning that those who gamble in an unlicensed environment could be jailed for up to six months and fined up to $10,000.
In addition, it suggests agents of illegal gambling may see different penalties for repeat offenders, with a maximum jail term of up to seven years and a fine of up to $300,000.
Operators, who are clearly distinct from agents, will face the stiffest penalties within the Bill. It proposes jail time of up to seven years and a fine of up to $500,000. Again, for repeat offences, the jail term can go up to 10 years and the fine up to $700,000.
The statement quotes: "Police take a serious view against all forms of illegal gambling activities and will continue to take tough enforcement action, including prosecuting those involved to the fullest extent of the law.”