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Arcade and fun fair operators in Singapore advised to inform customers about upcoming cap of prizes to not more than $100 in value

The Ministry of Home Affairs had noted that high-value prizes, such as smartphones and gaming consoles, were being offered to entice people to play.

A claw machine (Photo: Getty Images)
The MHA also noted that similar measures have been implemented in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, where claw machine prizes are capped at £50 (Photo: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE – Singapore's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has reminded arcades and fun fair operators in the country to inform their customers about an impending cap on the value of prizes. From 1 March, prizes must not exceed $100, and operators are prohibited from offering cash, cash equivalents, credit, merchant vouchers, or coupons as prizes.

Operators are also prohibited from repurchasing prizes won by customers. The ministry issued an advisory to operators on 31 January, urging them to inform their customers, including through notices displayed at their premises, it said in a statement on Thursday (1 Feb).

Restrictions were initially announced last year as a response to the growing trend of games on amusement machines relying heavily on chance.

The MHA said that high-value prizes, such as smartphones and gaming consoles, were being offered to entice people to play, leading to concerns that these games resembled gambling activities.

"MHA will be introducing a cap on the value of prizes to reduce the risk of gambling inducement, especially amongst youths," the ministry added.

The MHA also noted that similar measures have been implemented in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, where claw machine prizes are capped at £50 ($85).

What happens if operators don't comply with the cap on the value of prizes?

Non-compliance with the restrictions in Singapore could result in operators being subjected to regulatory action under the Public Entertainments Act, the MHA said.

These actions include, but are not limited to, suspension or revocation of their public entertainment license, or a fine up to $20,000.

Operators may also be liable under the Gambling Control Act, and face potential imprisonment for up to seven years, along with fines reaching $500,000, for conducting unlawful gambling.

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