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New gambling bill in Singapore may have dire consequences for free-to-play games

New gambling bill in Singapore may have dire consequences for free-to-play games

October 3, 2014 | By Mike Rose

October 3, 2014 | By Mike Rose
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More: Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet, Business/Marketing



A new gambling bill recently introduced in Parliament in Singapore may have dire consequences for free-to-play in the country, according to local law firms.

The Remote Gambling Bill was introduced last month, and seeks to regulate remote gambling in the region. The next step for the bill is scheduled to occur next week.

But Singapore law firm Stamford Law has now warned that in its current state, the bill is far too broad, such that it defines gambling as "playing a game of chance for money or money's worth."

This, as reported by Games in Asia, may end up defining any video game that involves an element of chance, or comes with a "kompu gacha" reward system.

The "Kompu gacha" method, which features in many free-to-play games in the country, encourages players to purchase random virtual goods in order to receive a prize once they collect a set of items. According to Stamford Law, pretty much any game with this sort of feature will find itself on the wrong side of this new bill.

The bill "potentially catches many games, even non-gambling ones," says the company, adding that it "will outlaw the 'freemium' model where monetization in primarily via in-app purchases."

Another Singapore law firm, Rajah & Tann, has released a report [PDF] regarding the bill, noting that even foreign developers who publish these sorts of games in Singapore would be hit by the bill.

It's not clear whether this bill will be narrowed down during the second reading next week, or whether it will even eventually be passed, but it clearly has local firms worried.


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