According to a British gambling consultancy, Singaporeans are the second biggest gamblers in the whole world and this is despite very strict laws against gambling in the country.
This has forced them to conduct poker home games at a great risk. Anyone caught having home games could be fined SG$1000 for playing and SG$20,000 for hosting or be jailed for two months. Having this great risk, Singaporeans turned to online poker to get their fix. Being placed in a corner, Singaporeans have no choice but to take the risk of a home game.
Singapore doesn’t have a lot of poker ambassadors, with the exception of Willie Tann, a World Series of Poker bracelet winner with almost $2 million in winnings on the tournament scene. Bryan Huang and Ivan Tan are moving up the scale in the Asia-Pacific area.
Online Poker: Illegal
Live Poker: Legal
Casinos with Poker:
– Casinos & Poker Rooms in Singapore –
Resorts World Sentosa is the only place in Singapore where one can find a game of poker. The poker room features 7 tables, and is in a designated area where drinks are available for free. Locals are required an entry fee of SG$100 to enter the casino. Read More …
– Playing Live Poker in Singapore –
Live Poker Legislation in Singapore
In 2004, the government decided to allow two integrated casino resorts to be built in the country – namely, Marina Bay Sands & Resorts World Sentosa. In 2006, the Casino Control Act was enacted to legalize the operations of the said casinos, in order to promote tourism and increase tax revenues. However, despite this legalization, certain conditions applied.
The Act specified that only these two casinos may operate and only with the full offering of a “resort” to complement the Hotel & Casino. Another condition was that foreigners were free to enter the casino, but local players were required to pay 100SGD. The reason behind this may be to exclude lower income Singaporeans, while the country has the third GDP/Capita PPP at over USD $82,000.
There are no taxes collected on poker winnings in Singapore.
Live Poker Venues in Singapore
Only Resorts World Sentosa has a poker offering with seven tables of No-Limit Texas Hold’em. As previously said, if you are a Singaporean, you will have to pay an entry fee of $100 SGD, unless you have an annual pass, costing $2,000 SGD.
Tables at the Resorts World Sentosa run almost every day of the week from noon until early morning. Poker limits start with SG$5-SG$10. Higher limit games of $10/$20, $25/$50 and even $100/$200 can be found at the weekends.
At the $5/$10 tables, pots less than $100 are not raked, and a fee of 5% rake applies for higher amounts, with a $50 cap, which kind of makes up for the entry fee. However, rake is way higher on the other limits, and applies even if there is no flop.
The other casino, the Marina Bay Sands, does have poker but it is casino style poker only, where you will be playing against the house rather than against other players.
Home games with friends are surprisingly not illegal in Singapore, as long as they are not turned into “common gambling houses.” As a result, there are many poker games hosted in the many condominiums of the city that are safe, basically as long as they are not advertised.
– Playing Online Poker in Singapore –
Online Poker Legislation in Singapore
In February 2015, the Remote Gambling Act of 2014 was enacted banning all online gambling, including online poker sites. The fine for playing online was stipulated at SG$5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 6 months. For operators, the Act made it more stringent – operators caught accepting Singaporean players in their site would have a penalty of not less than SG$20,000 and not more than SG$500,000 and/or imprisonment not exceeding 7 years.
As a result, the country is actively blocking different sites that offer gambling services, and no poker websites are licensed in Singapore.
However, major poker sites are still accepting Singaporean players and support Singapore Dollar (SGD), even though there are Cash In & Cash Out restrictions. All the major bank cards from Singapore are usually supported by poker websites, including DBS, UOB, OCBC, Citibank and BNU. Before funding an account, make sure to choose the right site.