22 Mar 2012

The Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore (CRA) has awarded the first batch of licences to two International Market Agents (IMAs1) today. The regime to regulate IMAs has also been enhanced to ensure that our gaming environment continues to be tightly regulated and free from criminal influence.

2. 2 applicants will be issued licenses. The licenses will be issued for a 1-year duration. 12 applications were rejected. CRA is currently evaluating a few other applications and is in the midst of conducting probity checks for these applications. The robust regulatory regime would ensure that licensed IMAs conduct business in a tightly regulated environment. Licensed IMAs must ensure that they continue to remain suitable to hold the licences. CRA will not hesitate to take action against the IMAs or the casino operators should they be in breach of the Casino Control Act or its regulations.

3. Commenting on the enhancements to the regime, Chief Executive of the CRA, Mr Lau Peet Meng said, "We have decided to use the term, 'International Market Agents (IMAs)', to more accurately describe what these agents do. They will focus on bringing in foreign high rollers to our casinos, and they will not target our locals. CRA has put in place a tight regulatory regime for the IMAs, and we have every intent to exercise our powers to ensure the casino operators and IMAs comply fully with our regulatory requirements."

4. Information on the first batch of IMAs awarded with licences can be found on the CRA website at

Corporate Communications Unit Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore 22 March 2012

1 An International Market Agent (IMA) is an agent who organises trips for foreign high rollers to play at the casino in exchange for a commission. IMAs may also extend credit to their patrons. As IMAs transact large sums of money, it is important that they are tightly regulated. In other jurisdictions, they are known as "junket promoters".


The IMA Model

Licensed IMAs have a role to play in bringing in foreign VIP high rollers to the local casinos. The licensed IMAs will focus on bringing in foreign clientele. They will not be allowed to target locals. As such, the term "International Market Agents" more accurately describes their role. The casino operators have to ensure that only suitable persons conduct the IMA business in their casinos, and that the IMAs do not target locals.

Our Regulatory Approach

Singapore has a different regulatory approach towards IMAs compared to other jurisdictions. We require high levels of compliance and governance, including:

  • Tight checks to keep out criminal influence
  • Robust regulatory regime and strong safeguards
  • Ongoing enforcement/monitoring
  • Stiff penalties if in breach of conditions

CRA has amended the IMA regulations to enhance our regimes in each of these areas. These include the requirements for more extensive financial reporting and credit assessment by IMAs, and prohibiting the sharing of commission between the IMA and a person who is not a licensed IMA. In addition, to ensure that casino operations are not compromised, the authorities will have the powers to suspend the IMA licence at any time if it is deemed necessary to do so.

Robust evaluation of licence applicants

As IMAs are new to Singapore, CRA has taken a conservative approach in evaluating the applications received. Each licence application was subjected to extensive and robust probity checks to determine the applicant(s)'s suitability to operate in Singapore. This includes examining financial soundness, sources of funds, as well as suitability of employees and associates.