Singapore’s new gambling regulator, the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA), announced it has no plans to legalise the use of cryptocurrency within its land-based gaming industry as it continues to explore the use of crypto across video game and social gaming platforms.
In what appears to be a continuation of Singapore’s general opposition to the introduction of cryptocurrency across broader society, GRA General Counsel Albert Yeo told a regulatory gathering in Sydney last week that crypto was one of the key issues the regulator is currently examining – particularly as it applies to new technologies.
However, there are no plans to allow the use of cryptocurrencies within Singapore’s two integrated resorts – Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa.
“I think for the casinos there is no real appetite,” Yeo said during the Regulating the Game conference. “It is a very volatile in terms of its revenue stream.
“Internally the idea is to just not allow it to begin with or to even allow it into the door. The moment you start even entertaining [the idea] you know it will be difficult to stop.
“I’m not sure if there is any legislative framework that would allow us to do it anyway but we are looking into it and seeing where it is creeping in and making sure it doesn’t invade the casinos in Singapore.”
Established last year to replace the former Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA), the new GRA – with a remit to oversee the entire gambling landscape in Singapore – is specifically designed with technology in mind. When it took charge on 1 August 2022, Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs said the GRA “allows the Government to more effectively stay ahead of technological and gambling trends, respond more adequately to emerging gambling products, and take a more holistic and coherent approach to gambling policies.”
According to Yeo, cryptocurrency “is one of the main things we are currently looking at” given the challenges regulators face in tracking blockchain transactions, although much of its attention is now focused on the online space – specifically the use of crypto in video or social gaming.
“We know it is a new space and we are engaging the developers themselves, trying to understand what the products mean,” Yeo said.
Pointing to one popular online product called “Axie Infinity” – a blockchain-based game in which players can trade NFTs and earn RAT (Rare Antiquities Token) currency – Yeo explained, “The thing we are grappling with is whether that is money, money equivalent or anything of value.
“Typically if it is in-game we won’t worry about it, but the trouble [with players earning cryptocurrency] is that it is very easy for them to just take it out and put it on exchanges.
“So we are engaging the developers – Singapore is trying to encourage game developers in Singapore but we are also looking at what is the future of cryptocurrency and where all these games are going. Do we have a good handle yet on where this is going?”
Singapore’s broader reluctance to regulate the trading in or use of cryptocurrencies currently extends to a ban on advertising by crypto exchanges, with the Monetary Authority of Singapore issuing a statement last November following the high-profile collapse of global exchange FTX in which it said, “The most important lesson from the FTX debacle is that dealing in any cryptocurrency, on any platform, is hazardous.
“Crypto exchanges can and do fail. Even if a crypto exchange is licensed in Singapore, it would be currently only regulated to address money-laundering risks, not to protect investors. This is similar to the approach currently taken in most jurisdictions.
“Further, even if a crypto exchange is well-managed, cryptocurrencies themselves are highly volatile and many of them have lost all value. The ongoing turmoil in the crypto industry serves as a reminder of the huge risks of dealing in cryptocurrencies.”
PAGCOR Licensees Give PHP60-M for New VMMC Wing
The Veterans Memorial Medical Center will soon have more patient rooms with the start of construction for the Magiting Veterans Wing on Friday, September 22, through a Php60 million grant from two licensees of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.
The Magiting Veterans Wing is a project initiated by the Philippine Military Academy Magiting Class of 1970 with funding support from Bloomberry Cultural Foundation Inc. (BCFI) and Newport World Resorts Foundation, Inc. (NWRFI), among others.
The two foundations, representing Solaire Resort and Newport World Resorts, respectively, each released Php30 million with PAGCOR’s approval.
The project will be carried out in two phases. The first will be sponsored by BCFI and covers civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, masonry works and roof deck waterproofing while the second phase will be funded by NWRFI and consists of works, fixtures and devices.
The Magiting Wing will have a total floor area of 1379.84 square meters and will house 12 new private rooms inclusive of four suites, a nurse station, lounge area, hallway, storage, access ramp and connecting bridge to the main hospital building.
PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Alejandro H. Tengco said the agency approved the grant from the casino foundations because of the project’s noble objective.
“PAGCOR recognizes the patriotism and sacrifice of Filipino veterans who dedicated their youth, vigor, strength and even lives for our country. By supporting this noble project, we show our gratitude to our modern-day heroes and their families,” he said.
Tengco said all integrated resort casino licensees in the country are required to put up a foundation to fund Corporate Social Responsibility programs on education infrastructure, health facilities, environmental preservation and cultural heritage restoration.
Two percent of the licensees’ gross gaming revenues from non-junket tables automatically go to such foundations.
Defense Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro, who graced the ceremonial concrete pouring for the project, expressed gratitude to the project supporters.
“As donee, we will provide the necessary maintenance and other operating expenditures to see to it that your donations will not go to waste,” he said.
Teodoro said other plans to improve the welfare of Filipino veterans include decentralising the VMMC’s services and the upskilling of hospital personnel so that doctors and specialists can focus more on caring for patients.
“No soldier ever retires. They are always a part of the system. They provide guidance and support to our active personnel hence their job as a soldier is never done,” he said.
Aside from BCFI and NWRFI, other major sponsors of the Magiting Veterans Wing project are DMCI, San Miguel Corporation and some retired military personnel.
Dubai Racing Club Opts for TPD’s Horse Tracking Solution
Total Performance Data, the world’s leading horse racing live data provider, has announced today that Dubai Racing Club is a new client.
Following successful live trials at last Spring’s Super Saturday and Dubai World Cup meetings, Dubai Racing Club has signed a multi-year deal to use TPD’s services beginning with the new season at Meydan Racecourse on Friday 10 November. This extends TPD’s content footprint in the fast-growing Middle Eastern horseracing scene where both of Saudi Arabia’s racecourses are already live.
TPD will produce live and post-race timing stats for every horse as well as live running order graphics for the world’s biggest set of on course screens, including the new 4k big screen.
Will Duff Gordon, CEO of TPD, commented: “We are very excited to be further enriching the wonderful racing that takes place at Meydan and look forward to a successful partnership. I’d like to thank our engineering partners at Gmax for so rapidly delivering the live service back in March.”
Mohammed Riaz, Head of IT for Dubai Racing Club, said: “When Trakus ceased trading we were impressed with the speed of set up and quality of output when Gmax and TPD met our needs for the climax of last season. We are excited to use this content on our new 4k big screen as well as for our international audience.”
The new season at Meydan Racecourse begins on Friday, November 10th and concludes with the $30.5million Dubai World Cup meeting on Saturday, March 30th.
Niko Partners ‘India Games Market’ Report – India retains title as Asia’s fastest-growing video games market in 2023
- Meteoric rise in revenue: Niko Partners projects India video games revenue across all platforms to reach $868 million in 2023, up 21.2% YoY. India’s video game market is the fastest growing by gamers and revenue, which is forecast to reach $1.6 billion by 2027, growing at a 5-year CAGR of 17.2%. The report excludes revenue generated from Real Money Games.
- Player base keeps on expanding: The number of gamers in India across all platforms is forecast to reach 444 million in 2023, up 12.1% YoY, and reach 641.2 million in 2027, growing at a 5-year CAGR of 10.1%.
- Dominance of mobile gaming: India is a mobile-first market with 96.8% of total gamers playing on a smartphone or tablet.
- Game-spending is on an upward trajectory: 31% of the 444.4 million gamers will spend on video games in 2023, with annual ARPPU reaching $6.38.
- Esports continues to gain momentum: 71.8% of the total gamers have engaged with Esports by either playing an Esports game, watching or participating in an Esports tournament.
- Encouraging factors in terms of revenue growth and brand investment: The return of BGMI and Free Fire are positive signs for the industry and foreign game companies looking to enter the market.
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