Singapore followed through on its promise to block online gambling sites from its citizens this week with locals reporting the inability to access "several hundred" online gambling sites via local ISPs. The country's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that the list of sites would not be publicised but would be subject to review from time to time.
“The MHA and the Media Development Authority are working with Internet service providers (ISPs) to ensure that the blocking of websites is implemented smoothly,” said a MHA spokesperson.
The decision had implications for Singapore's financial sector with Singapore’s Association of Banks releasing a statement saying that it had "ensured compliance with the law’s provisions" according to instructions from the Monetary Association of Singapore.
Legislation passed in September 2014 called the Remote Gambling Act made online gambling from within Singapore illegal, with potential penalties for gamblers including fines of up to S$5000 and/or jail terms of up to six months.
Players with funds held in accounts at sites that are now blocked would be well advised to phone the sites in question to make arrangements for a withdrawal of their funds, as attempting to contact the site via web based communication is likely to prove fruitless.
Local operators Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club indicated that they will be applying for an exemption from the remote gambling laws. They have six months to either apply for authorisation or cease all remote gambling activities.