11 Nov 2010, 3.13PM
Recent high-profile losses sustained by a few individuals in casinos have raised some concern among contributors over the consequences of problem gambling. Latest reports have also shown that the number of gamblers seeking help is on the rise. Since the opening of the casinos in Singapore, the number of gamblers seeking help has increased by 40%, in tandem with recent problem gambling awareness campaigns.
While contributors are encouraged to see more gamblers stepping forward to seek help, a few argue that problem gambling cases would not have spiked, if the casinos had not been set up in the first place.
Contributors also discuss the effectiveness of measures proposed by industry experts at the 3rd Asian Casino and Gaming Congress in October, aimed at preventing players from losing more than they can afford. Some agree with the suggested measures, in particular the limiting of the amount of cash that ATMs in casinos can dispense, and limiting the number of times a person can visit a casino.
Others, however, express doubts over the effectiveness of these measures in addressing problem gambling. They point out that gamblers will still be able to patronise overseas casinos if their ability to do so locally is restricted.
Contributors put forth several suggestions to curb problem gambling, which include:
- Banning all Singaporeans from entering casinos;
- Increasing the current levy to deter locals from entering casinos;
- Employing a means testing system, akin to that used by the Ministry of Health;
- Only allowing individuals with a monthly salary of $10,000 and above to enter casinos; and
- Prohibiting the use of NETS, debit, credit card, and ATM withdrawals in casinos by locals.
Selected Contributors' Quotes
"It is almost impossible and impractical to ban gambling since illegal gambling dens will continue to operate. To address this problem, the Govt should perhaps disallow the use of debit and credit card, and ATM withdrawals in casinos." - Eliz, via discussion forum
"[Despite] the $100 entrance fee that Singaporeans have to pay to enter the casino, the impact would still not be significant; after all, Singaporean would have gone to Genting Highlands or to those gambling cruises if there isn’t any casino here." - Woody, via discussion forum
"Use the Mean Testing employed so effectively by the Health Ministry! No S$10m income, cannot go to the Casino!" - LuKeehong, via discussion forum
“Yes, it's a positive sign that more gamblers are seeking help. But isn't it contradictory that on one hand we allow casinos in Sg, and on the other hand we have to waste even more resources to counsel these gamblers?” – Guest, via discussion forum