Second Reading Speech of the Betting and Sweepstake Duties (Amendment) Bill 2005 By Mrs Lim Hwee Hua, Minister of State for Finance 2005 at The Parliament, 11 Mar 200517 Mar 2005
Mr Speaker, Sir, I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
Amendments to the Betting and Sweepstake Duties Act
Minister to prescribe betting and sweepstake duty rates
2 In the recent Budget Statement, it was announced that horse betting duty would be changed from 12% of each bet to 25% of gross betting profit (that is, bets less winnings paid out). This change in the basis of assessing betting duty is in line with the practice in jurisdictions like the UK and most Australian states (such as New South Wales and Victoria). 25% of gross betting profit is equivalent to about 5% of each bet. Thus this represents a halving of betting duty. The change will allow the Singapore Turf Club to offer better odds and lower prices to their customers to compete more effectively with illegal gambling operators.
3 Currently, the Betting and Sweepstake Duties Act already allows the Minister of Finance to set the rate of duty for horse betting, sports betting and lotteries through subsidiary legislation. However, the Act prescribes the basis of duty. The duty on horse betting and lotteries is based on the amount of each bet while the duty on sports betting is based on the gross betting profit. Clauses 3 and 4 of the Bill amend sections 3 and 4 of the Act to allow the Minister to set the rate of duty, including the basis of duty, for all types of betting and sweepstakes through subsidiary legislation for administrative efficiency.
4 Sir, I now briefly outline other amendments to the Act.
5 Clauses 3 and 4 amend sections 3 and 4 to allow the Minister to make clear which betting operators are required to pay betting and sweepstake duties through subsidiary legislation.
6 Clauses 4 and 6 amend sections 4 and 6 to allow the Minister to set operational requirements for betting operators through subsidiary legislation. Such requirements cover the statement to be prepared by betting operators, and the timeframe for submission of statement and payment of the betting and sweepstake duty.
7 Clause 2 defines the term "Commissioner" as the Commissioner of Stamp Duties, and clause 10 amends sections 6, 7, and 10 to streamline references to the Commissioner of Stamp Duties.
8 Clauses 5, 7 and 8 make consequential amendments to sections 5, 7 and 9.
9 Clause 9 inserts a new section 11 to allow the Commissioner to compound offences under the Act. This is in line with the Ministry of Law's decriminalisation initiative.
Related Amendments to the Singapore Totalisator Board Act
Minister to have flexibility to prescribe the manner of determining the Singapore Totalisator Board's commission
10 Sir, I now turn to the related amendments to the Singapore Totalisator Board Act. Currently, the Act allows the Minister for Finance to prescribe, through subsidiary legislation, how much the Singapore Totalisator Board can deduct from bets made on the totalisator as commission. Clause 11 of the Bill amends section 12 of the Act to give the Minister flexibility to prescribe the manner of determining the commission, instead of the exact amount. The Totalisator Board can then be allowed to set its own commission to help the Turf Club offer better odds and lower prices.
11 Sir, I now briefly outline one other amendment to the Act. Clause 11 inserts a new section 9B to allow the Totalisator Board to raise loans from the Government or, with the approval of the Minister, raise loans within or outside Singapore from sources approved by the Minister. This is in line with the Ministry's policy to allow Statutory Boards to borrow.
12 Sir, I beg to move.