Drakemall, a virtual mystery box website which offers electronic gadgets, fashion wear and beauty products as prizes, has been blocked after a Singapore actor promoted it on the social media platform. The mystery box website headquartered in Ireland was promoted by the comedy movie "Ah Boys to Men" actor Ridhwan Azman in a sponsored YouTube video on Dec. 22, 2019.

The blocked mystery box website

It should be noted that this website approaches people like a mystery box marketplace and promises them to have a chance to win gifts by opening virtual boxes which people can buy at the prices starting from less than US$1 (S$1.35) to about US$140 (S$188).

As reported by The New Paper, a police spokesperson stated that the authorities had evaluated the Drakemal as a remote gambling service. After receiving the orders from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) last week, officials blocked the site.

The actor who promoted the website

The 26-year-old Singapore actor and YouTuber claimed in a 13-minute YouTube video that he has won an iPhone 11, which actually has a retail price of about $1,000, by opening a box for just $6.50. The actor who goes by the username Ridhwannabe on YouTube also showed the viewers the sign-up process and encouraged them to use the referral code with his name for extra perks.

As per the reports, it appears that Drakemall was using the actor to attract young gamblers as his YouTube channel has over 500,000 subscribers and most of them are aged between 12 and 18. The promotional YouTube video has received almost 70,000 views till last Friday but later the authorities have removed it from the social media platform.

Ridhwan and Drakemall

Ridhwan Azman
Ridhwan Azman Twitter/ @RidhwanAzman

The actor later revealed that he was not aware that the website was an online gambling site and there are other YouTubers around the world who are also promoting this site. Ridhwan also said that he was approached by a client who mentioned that Drakemall is not a mystery box game and he also felt like that. In addition, the actor mentioned that his career is very important to him so he would not do something to risk it.

Police investigation

As per the Singapore police the remote gambling, which includes the sale of mystery boxes online is prohibited unless granted an exemption by the government. A spokesperson stated that "Online lotteries and sale of 'mystery boxes' online - being games of chance that involve money or items that have monetary value, and are conducted through remote communications - fall within the definition of remote gambling."

He also added that people who provide an overseas remote gambling service with a Singapore-customer link or a Singapore-based remote gambling service, without an exemption, would have considered as offenders under the Remote Gambling Act 2014.

Singapore law

Under the Remote Gambling Act 2014, if someone in Singapore is found guilty of gambling using remote communication, or a remote gambling service not provided by an exempt operator, he or she can be jailed for up to six months or fined up to $5,000 or both. Anyone in Singapore, who provides unlawful remote gambling services for others, can be fined between $20,000 and $200,000, or jailed up to five years, or both.