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S'pore Arcades Must Limit Prize Values To S$100 From Mar 2024 To Prevent Gambling Inducement 

MHA To Impose S$100 Limit On Prize Values At Arcades From Mar 2024

To curb gambling and truancy among youths, arcades in Singapore will need to implement a S$100 cap on their prize values.

These new measures will take effect from Mar 2024.

This is reportedly in light of an increasing number of arcade games that have elements of chance and high prize values, said Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam.

As such, this may increase the risk of gambling inducement, which vulnerable groups such as youths are especially susceptible to.

Arcades must enforce entry restrictions during school hours

Mr Shanmugam mentioned the regulations in a written reply to a parliamentary question from Yio Chu Kang Member of Parliament (MP) Yip Hon Weng.

Mr Yip had asked about the availability of data on the time and money students spent at arcades. He also asked the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) if it would consider implementing age verification checks in arcades.

Source: Google Maps, for illustration purposes only

In response, Mr Shanmugam said the MHA requires amusement centre operators to conduct verification checks on patrons.

This will ensure that those below 16 cannot enter such premises on a school day outside the permitted hours between 6.30pm and 11.59pm.

On top of that, operators need to prominently display signs within their premises to inform patrons of the entry restrictions.

These restrictions are in place to reduce truancy during school hours. MHA will also work with the Ministry of Education to remind students about the entry restrictions into amusement centres.

As these measures are part of a premise’s Public Entertainment Licence, operators who do not comply may face regulatory actions.

MHA places S$100 limit on prize values at arcades from 1 Mar 2024

Next, Mr Shanmugam clarified that MHA does not track the number of students who visit amusement centres. They also do not record the amount of money they spend there.

Source: Google Maps, for illustration purposes only

However, they have observed that an increasing number of games in arcades have elements of chance and high-value prizes.

“This may increase the risk of gambling inducement, in particular with vulnerable persons such as youths,” said Mr Shanmugam.

To lower this risk, MHA will limit the value of such prizes to a maximum of S$100 from 1 Mar 2024.

Additionally, they will ban these premises from offering cash, cash equivalents, credit, or merchant vouchers as prizes. The Ministry will also prohibit the sell-back of prizes to operators.

MHA doesn’t intend to require operators to display odds of winning games

That being said, MHA does not intend to make operators display the odds of winning the games.

Source: Google Maps, for illustration purposes only

Mr Shanmugam said such a requirement may “impose undue regulatory burden on the operators, which may not be proportionate to the gambling risks of such games.”

He also pointed out that many of the games, such as “coin pushers”, do not have definitive odds.

“MHA will continue to monitor and review the safeguards against gambling inducement risks in such games,” assured Minister Shanmugam.

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Featured image adapted from Timezone Singapore on Facebook. For illustration purposes only.

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