The Home Office’s proposed amendments to Singapore’s gambling regulations will have more advantages than disadvantages (Bill to Expand Scope of Gambling Laws, July 13).
Gambling can have deleterious effects on family and health. Many people fall prey to excessive gambling because they are not aware of the exact consequences of their actions from the start.
This can be attributed to the fact that young people are exposed to play materials and practices from an early age, whether at school or at home during festive times like Chinese New Year.
Without proper parental guidance, young people could potentially give in to temptation and develop bad gambling habits. The proposed changes focus primarily on tackling the new ways in which gambling has evolved in today’s digital world.
Many desktop and mobile games require in-game purchases to obtain rare skins (virtual cosmetic game items) or access unique features. In order to acquire these enhanced features, players would have to continually spend money to even have a chance to win.
However, the nature of such transactions is fortuitous and is very similar to gambling.
Players bet small and count on the slim chance of winning big.
Moreover, many young people play these games online without a clear understanding of the game.
When they engage in such activities from an early age, they unwittingly develop the habit of playing.
It is therefore essential that regulatory changes are made to protect users of games that favor monetization without thinking about the unintended consequences of their actions.