The Remote Gambling Act 2014 (the “Act”), which provides the legislative framework to regulate remote gambling activities in Singapore, prohibits all forms of remote gambling activities, unless exempted.
The Act enables the Singapore Government to introduce a comprehensive set of blocking measures, and more specifically, the Act provides for the blocking of payment transactions to and from the accounts of remote gambling operators.
Payment blocking order
In this regard, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (the “MAS”) has issued a Payment Blocking Order (the “Order”) which takes effect from 17 April 2015. The Order imposes certain obligations on financial institutions (“FIs”) in relation to Relevant Persons, i.e. any account holder of an FI that is notified by the MAS to the FI from time to time as a Relevant Person for the purposes of the Order.
The Order applies to the following FIs:
- banks licensed under the Banking Act;
- persons licensed under the Banking Act to carry on the business of issuing credit cards or charge cards in Singapore;
- merchant banks approved as a financial institution under section 28 of the Monetary Authority of Singapore Act;
- finance companies licensed under the Finance Companies Act;
- holders of a stored value facility under the Payment Systems (Oversight) Act; and
- operators of a payment system designated under the Payment Systems (Oversight) Act.
Notably, the Order now extends to merchant banks and finance companies.
The MAS had issued an earlier Payment Blocking Order in February 2015 which did not extend to merchant banks and finance companies. The earlier Payment Blocking Order has been cancelled with effect from 17 April 2015.
Scope of the Order
Pursuant to the Order, an FI is required to:
- not accept credit, or proceeds of credit, extended to or on behalf of a Relevant Person;
- not accept any cheque, bank draft, or similar instrument which is drawn by or on behalf of a Relevant Person;
- not make or accept, an electronic funds transfer, or any funds transmission, to or from the Relevant Person; and
- block payments, or otherwise prevent or prohibit transactions to the following merchant category codes:
Click here to view the table.
An FI may, upon the request of any of its customers affected by the FI’s actions, disclose to that customer, the document received from the MAS identifying the specific Relevant Person. However, the FI must not disclose information in the document identifying other Relevant Persons.