- Social clubs will need to prove that they offer a suitably wide range of substantive recreational and social facilities aside from the slot machines
- Currently there are a reported 1,900 slot machines in 82 social and football clubs in Singapore.
Those that fail will have until April 30th 2018 to stop operating their slot games.
The Ministry of Home Affairs announced the move as part of their plans to ensure that slots remain only a small part of a social club’s activities rather than the main draw.
When does it kick in?
In just under four months’ time, the legal age to play slot machines will rise from 18 to 21 and social clubs will have to prove that they offer a “suitably wide range of substantive recreational and social facilities.”
Further restrictions on the rules will not allow club members to bring guests into the rooms where the slot machines are and limit entry only to those who have been signed up for at least year to the club along with only being operable between the hours of 10am to 11pm.
Currently, social clubs are allowed to operate slot machines on site so long as they provide two other forms of recreational facility. The punishment for ‘taking advantage of these rules is a fine of up to $20,000 and up to a year in prison under Singapore’s private Lotteries act.
Strict rules set to harm the industry
The new tightened restrictions are expected to cull the number of slot machines in Singapore by nearly a third.
However, a ministry official put a more positive spin on the new rules by saying: “The changes will align the regulations of fruit machines more closely to the intention of ensuring fruit machines are only an ancillary part of a club’s broader suite of recreational and social offerings,”
They went on to say: “The changes will also strengthen protection of individuals from the potential harms of fruit machine gaming.”
The real concern is a current flouting of the rules by current operators looking to cash in on the draw of slot machines.
Home Affairs and Law Minister K.Shanmugam did not mince his words in the report by saying:“Our sense is that some of them sort of pay lip service to the need to provide other services and focus on the jackpot machines as their primary objective. That we cannot allow,”
“We will look at what the main ‘business’ of the organization is, and whether it is bona fide, and whether there is a social purpose to be served.”
The move appears bold and the ministry are making it clear they are not messing around, let’s just hope the social clubs already have their houses in order.
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