The National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) expressed its concern that the government has authorised the online betting and called for the government to review its decision on the matter.
The government’s decision to allow authorised operators to provide online gambling services under ‘stringent controls and safeguards’ has been referred as a ‘judgement call’ by NCCS.
In a letter to member Churches regarding the online gambling platforms dated 19 October 2016, NCCS wrote that its representatives had a face-to-face discussion with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) dan the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), and on the meetings both the government and the council agree that public policies should serve the best interests of society and the common good.
But the government maintained that allowing exempt online gambling services under stringent controls is the best approach to limit and contain any adverse social consequences.
However, the council expressed its reservations about the government’s conclusion.
It pointed out that:
- The long working hours and hectic pace of life in the country have already taken their toll on Singapore’s families,
- The legalisation of online gambling may lead to more adverse consequences for family life,
- It will give poor role models for our youth,
- It could even have a negative effect on some work environments.
For these points and reasons against the government’s conclusion stated on the letter, the council called for the government to review its decision to carry out the online gambling.
The government said that it will proactively strengthen the family and social environment to prevent and mitigate the harmful consequences of online gambling. It proposed to meet NCCS leaders in three to six month’s time to take the matter further.
Meanwhile the NCCS will initiate it’s own actions to help Singapore’s families from the negative effects of the online gambling, as written below in the attached letter.
NCCS will also monitor the situation of the online gambling closely and give feedback to the government.