Writing Service

The Applicant Series #9: 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: Passed (Average)

Title: Should the government allow STC and Pools to offer online betting?

Comments: The applicant did pretty okay for the piece, which is an actual SUSS question which requires students to write a synthesis essay. Other than some mistakes with grammar, academic writing style and lack of focus, it did generally answers the question and aligns with the requirements well. Reasoning logic is good, which is the most important.

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Gambling, as a popular recreational activity, has been incorporated into Singapore’s culture ever since the 19th Century. It began in the form of gambling tables and gambling farms, as pioneered by William Farquhar (Winslow, Cheok, & Subramaniam, 2015); and from then on, it has evolved into different forms. In casinos, there are card games, dice games, and slot machines. Some people also bet on popular sporting events such as basketball, football, horse-racing, and other competitions. Another less regulated form would be through games of Mahjong at various homes, and Bingo. Because of these numerous choices, it is not astonishing that almost half of Singapore’s residents have engaged in gambling. According to the National Council on Problem Gambling (2015), 44% of its residents have gambled on games, the most popular of which include 4D (35%), Toto (27%), Singapore Sweep (16%), and Social Gambling (10%). Although it is the least popular in the survey, technological advances have also produced a form of gambling using the internet called online betting.

Online betting occurs when players gamble money in different websites, making it easily accessible to anyone with internet connection. Beginning from 1990, it has garnered the interests of many participants as it is relatively effortless to use, granting people money instantly with just a few clicks. In Singapore, online betting is only legally possible through Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club. The former permits registered customers to place bets online through a Singapore Pools account in 4D, TOTO, Football, and motor racing; while the latter will be launching iTote, accessible through a website or an application, for horse-racing. These online gambling operators must provide a self-exclusion system for their customers, information on responsible gambling, customers’ daily record, alerts if the customer exceeds 75% of the expenditure limit, odds of winning, and access to customer’s monthly statements of gambling activities (Foo, 2016).

The recent legalization of these gambling websites have led to clashing contradictory ideologies among the different sectors of society in regards to morality, ethics, social responsibility, and monetary gain. For one, the National Council of Churches in Singapore argue that allowing online gambling sites will confuse the citizens as it is in conflict with the Remote Gambling Act. Implemented on February 2015, this act bans all forms of online betting (Abdullah, 2016). However, many still opted to gamble online, albeit illegally, such as the 120 people arrested for this crime (Today, 2016). Online gambling may also be considered immoral and unethical as it may contribute to problem gambling or addiction, since it is readily available to internet users. Nonetheless, the government still has a social responsibility to its citizens by preventing them from going through illegal means in the absence of an acceptable alternative for their gambling impulse.  On a financial note, online gambling can provide large revenue as their clients are from different countries. For example, there has been an issue on the US restricting Antigua and Barbuda islands on legal cross-border gambling services, causing their online business to lessen. Another financial issue would be in the case of added competition. Casinos tend to support banning of online gambling, because they may lose some of their customers to gambling websites. Despite the issues presented, some aspects of legalization have its positive effects (The Straits Times, 2016).

The primary advantage of permitting legal online betting operators to offer online betting would be regulation. Since it is impossible to fully eradicate any form of betting in the internet, the government needs proper authority to control these sites. Although the purpose of the Remote Gambling Act was to prevent Singaporeans from any gambling online, closing down illegal gambling sites is just a short-term solution. People can constantly create new sites to replace them. With legalization of chosen gambling sites, however, the government can control the operations available in the sites and make policies that ensure safe and healthy gambling for individuals. These safety measures include an age restriction (21 years old and above), and the exclusion regime. Families are allowed to prevent their members from participating in these sites (Abdullah, 2016). Online gambling is also only available for players with a registered account, and these players will be prohibited from incurring additional debt as gambling on credit is not allowed (Foo, 2016). Regardless, there are still ethical, moral, and social disadvantages of legalization.

The chief concern for allowing online betting services is aggravating the gambling problems in the country in terms of addiction.  Numerous citizens have stated their concerns over the internet savvy younger generation. These sites may interest more young people to gamble for fun, since it is easily accessible for them (Ng, 2016). Also, despite the two authorized gambling websites being a tightly-controlled gambling alternative, this may still harm impulsive gamblers. The addicted gamblers may opt to still go to illegal sites once they have grown tired of the two lottery operators. Because it is available online, there is also greater exposure to gambling than traditional methods such as betting over a counter. This easier access may entice social gamblers to continuously bet until they become addicted.  Religious groups also note that this selective ban may mean that the government may be implicitly condoning online gambling (Chia, 2016).

There is no denying that with gambling always comes a risk of addiction. Nevertheless, even if numerous bans or laws were to be created, the reality is that gambling has been thoroughly rooted in Singapore’s culture. Many cases of illegal online betting have proven that is impossible to completely ban all forms of gambling. The best choice for the government is to manage the crisis through tight regulations as emphasized by the National Council on Problem Gambling, an expert on handling gambling problems (Chia, 2016). MSF and MHA will also be closely monitoring online gambling, thus they may be able to accommodate all concerns regarding the two operators.  Ethically, the regulations also try to prevent addiction through responsible gambling messages, and reminders about the time the player spends betting (Foo, 2016). By allowing not-for-profit organizations, Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club, the government will be able to test the effect of their regulations to society, and subsequently change them depending on the situation.

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