Problem gambling – Catholic church calls for safeguards

Problem gambling has led the Catholic Church to urge Singapore’s Government to “continually review” measures to minimise online gambling’s ill effects.

The Catholic Church, along with the National Council of Churches in Singapore said it is “deeply concerned” that the Government is sending “confusing and conflicting signals” with the partial lifting of the ban on online gambling.

It  appealed for the Government to review the move.

Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club will be allowed to offer online services from next month.

In a pastoral letter to Catholics in Singapore, Archbishop William Goh wrote that the Church remains concerned about the possible ill-effects of a “gambling culture that could grip Singaporeans”.

He added that the Church has appealed to the authorities to closely monitor the effectiveness of the various safeguards put in place.

For instance, only those aged 21 and above are able to open player accounts have to be implemented.

Punters are not allowed to gamble on credit.

They also must set daily funding and gambling limits.

“The Catholic Church appreciates that the Government has done its due diligence to ensure that stringent measures are put in place to minimise the ill-effects of online gambling,” Archbishop Goh wrote.

“We also recognise that the authorities have taken pains to consult, clarify and assure us that this move to allow restricted access to online gambling operators and their services is one that has been taken only after careful study of the environment and in consideration of the greater good of society.

“Given that there is no way to totally eradicate illegal gambling online – and the risks such a move could have on the moral integrity and fabric of our society – we also recognise the Government’s dilemma in tackling this highly sensitive and controversial issue that continues to plague modern society.”

Goh said the Catholic Church has asked for more regular consultation and updates on the consequences of the Remote Gambling Act.


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