Online gambling is illegal in most parts of the world but, in most places, the people doing the gambling are not usually the ones who wind up standing before a judge in a court of law when the operation is busted. Like most vices, the customer gets a slap on the wrist while the operator faces the music. The city state of Singapore, however, is not most parts of the world.

In a Singapore courtroom recently, a man named Lau Jian Bang was given a crash course on how different Singapore is than the rest of the world when it comes to online gambling when he was staring down a two-week jail sentence for his conviction on two counts of illegal online gambling. Lau was convicted under Singapore’s Remote Gambling Act (RGA) for placing 13 wagers on Premiere League matches worth $39,000. Under the terms of the RGA, he was facing a two-week prison sentence along with a $10,000 fine.

However lucky Lau’s football wagers turned out, it was nothing compared to the break he caught when Justice Aedit Abdullah handed down his sentence. Justice Aedit found the two-week term to be quite excessive for a first time conviction and dropped Lau’s jail sentence entirely. “The solution, it would seem, lies with Parliament to either increase the maximum fine to better deal with such situations, or to allow for fines to be coupled with other orders, including instruction and education on responsible gambling,” he said in a decision that was reported on by the Singapore Times.

Prosecutors in the case had argued that the scale of Lau’s wagers warranted the harsh sentence.

It is unclear whether prosecutors have any further recourse in prosecuting Lau at this point.


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