Enraged by Opposition MP Pritam Singh’s sharp criticism, Senior Minister of State Desmond Lee twisted his logic and instead told him to prove that online gambling is no good:
“The WP should show evidence that a total ban on online gambling will drive such activities to land-based outlets, such as authorised 4D or Toto shops — instead of underground.”
The Senior Minister of State then said MP Pritam Singh is “not right” to scold the government:
“I am “disturbed” by the picture that Mr Singh had painted, and that it was not right for him to suggest that the authorities were unaware of the risks posed by online gambling.”
Minister Desmond Lee called online gambling a “global phenomenon” and a gambling ban will be detrimental and worsen it’s harmful effects:
“A total ban on all forms of online betting — something that the WP had called for earlier — would drive the problem further underground and make it harder to detect.
Online gambling is a global phenomenon. It grows at a very fast rate. It is not a problem outside Singapore – it is right here on our shores, in our homes, in people’s pockets when they walk around, when they work, when they are at home…
Banning it is inadequate as the problem will only grow deeper … A valve may allow people who intend to gamble online to do so in an environment with some social safeguards, and we can track the size and shape of the problem.”