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The Applicant Series #7: Online Gambling

The Applicant Series showcases works done by hopeful writers who have applied with inkmypapers over the years. The results and comments will be provided first, followed by the actual essay/report written by the applicant

Applicant’s Results: Failed

Title: Write a 1,000 word essay on “Should the Singapore government allow online gambling?”

Comments: As one of the main proofreader of inkmypapers, I am very sensitive towards spelling and grammatical errors as it shows a disregard of the writer to be sensitive towards small details. The applicant spelt The Straits Times as “The Strait Times” which immediately rub me the wrong way. Other than some of these mistakes, the writer also makes several bigger mistakes. Most notably, her arguments are poor as they do not make complete logical sense.

As you would have guessed, we rejected the applicant. We take our guarantees seriously and make sure we only hire great writers.

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Introduction

According to The Strait Times (2016), as Singapore takes a cautious approach in legalising gambling, it has also led to the prevention of it penetrating the online sphere. However, due to the prerogative the internet now offers, making online gambling much more accessible, it leads to seeing the pre-existing Remote Gambling Act as something that is outdated.

Still, a major contradiction leads to the conclusion that this should remain as is, in line with social and moral norms that stereotypes gambling into something that is destructive and addictive. But of course, at par with it comes the idea that gambling in general is a win-win arrangement for two or more parties, usually elevating not just in a corporate level but also from state to state, making the situation a lot more complicated that just compromised values and money-making.

With this lies the question: should the government allow the two lottery operators, namely Singapore Pools and Turf Club, to offer online betting?

 Definition of online betting and issues surrounding its ideology

According to the research done by Hume and Mort (2011), online betting has been perceived, especially by users bordering on ages 13 to 30, as either a formal or informal form of entertainment and gaming in contrast to having the risks of physical gambling.

This is in strong relation to Woolley (2003)’s statement that by definition and expectation, the internet’s complex structure and interconnectivity is recognised as something that is beyond current jurisdictions, therefore overriding certain conventional and existing regulations.

With this, moral and even societal issues of conformity is already being bypassed to some extent. Griffiths (2003) have cited various provocations such as the idea of “vulnerable individuals” such as children, problem gamblers, etc., having access to such a platform without physical limitations or regulations, accessibility to gambling even in the workplace, stimulation of further gambling in the form of non-physical cash (such as credits or e-cash), and even tracking that could lead to issues with privacy.

Arguments for upholding the government’s decision to allow the two lottery operators to offer online betting

Despite the given issues, there are still major considerations in order to fully decline or approve the operations of the two lottery operators. As cited by Abdullah (2016) over an interview for The Strait Times, Mr. Tan Chua-Jin, Minister for Social  and  Family Development argued that with the accessibility and flexibility of the internet, taking down such sites is more of a temporary solution as these operators could easily set up a new site as soon as the previous one is taken down.

He pressed on that since this involves a global market, letting it stay unregulated is one of the worst things to happen. With this, Mr. Tan added that the authority and the control of the government is the key to keeping the effects of online betting to a downlow, instead of mandating to shut it off completely.

He also highlighted that preventing it can cause people to simply bypass the system all together, which can lead to a bigger and much more complicated problem in the future. With this, laws must be amended to accommodate the situation.

Arguments against upholding the government’s decision to allow the two lottery operators to offer online betting

Even with the justification given by Mr. Tan, however, there are still others who feel that allowing this will definitely have its consequences, one of which is the inevitability of gambling addiction. Ng (2016)’s article on The Strait Times shows counter-arguments from various consumers that are against the idea, especially given the accessibility of online betting towards the young. Some of the points mentioned were citing the dangers of making it easily penetrated through one’s home and can lead to more dangers than just addiction, but even debt and provocation to steal in order to pay their debts. They do, however, recognise that allowing such can be convenient to those who can control it, but are not too keen on acknowledging it due to the consequences foreseen above.

Conclusion

Looking at both sides of the spectrum, it can be easily pointed out that online betting is a growing industry, not just in Singapore, but the entire world, due to globalisation and the continuous technological advances. With this, there is definitely a strong need to readjust pre-existing laws in accordance to such innovations. In retrospect, anything and everything can have ups and downs when it comes to moral and societal issues, but beyond the subjectivity of those lies the objectivity in which laws play along the lines with.

It is understandable that the threats with regards to addiction or even cybercrime can root from making online betting accessible, but according to Wilson (2007), it is until the lawmakers, the IT industry, and even the citizens realise that everything technological must be treated in the same respect as a commodity or a product, thus earning the willingness to consider performance and cost to obtain future benefits that would come across it.

In line with this respect, it can be said that even with laws, there are still crimes and societal issues very much present daily — but it does not discount the fact that laws still need to exist and be implemented. Going by the argument given by Mr. Tan Chua-Jin, it is definitely much easier to take these operators under the radar and create rules that bind them rather than restrict them all together. This creates a more controlled environment that can even open up the avenue to take necessary measures when one is found committing the fears of crimes and addiction by the consumers. It can also help regulate the spending of the consumers to help amend the addiction scenario, cited by those who are completely against the agreement to allow the two lottery operators to push through with online betting.

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