I got my whole family to do it.
I was reading through stories about problem gamblers in Australia serveral months ago. In many cases they were passing by the casino (back from the cinema, restaurant, supermarket) and were drawn by the bright lights. They decide to go in play a few rounds on the slot machines(pokies) and before they know it they were hooked. Companies making slot machines program these machines with lights and sounds to trigger plenty of endorphins (pleasure inducing chemicals) to be released in your brain when you win. In fact they hire Phds to research how to get players hooked on their slot machines. Why do people get addicted to drugs? Drugs like marijuana cause the release endorphins in the brain and cause a craving for more. In Singapore we hang people who bring in marijuana but allow the slot machines in clubs. Why? Problem gambling is just as harmful as drugs - just look at the 12,000 loan shark harassment cases year to date. Many, I believe, are the result of gambling.
Before the govt even decided to build casinos to added to the problem, it was already a problem for many families and the harm caused by gambling is no less than that caused by drugs. Why are we so harsh on one problem and so lax on the other? I can't believe the poster at one Singapore Pools outlet I passed by the other day - it warned people about gambling by asking them to gamble within their means. The poster is found here [Link]
This ridiculous message is reflective of the effort our govt to put in to tackle the gambling problem. If you follow what the what the poster says, it is actually asking you to start gambling (responsibly?) as if it is a good thing like exercise - the correct message should be don't gamble or don't learn to gamble or don't start gambling or stop gambling. Most of these so-called "responsible gambling" campaigns are run by casino operators or online poker website operators. It is similar to the "Children don't smoke" campaign run by cigarette companies - the underlying message is children don't smoke so you're very adult to do so. How do people become problem gamblers? They start by playing light You don't go around telling people taking recreational drugs occasionally for pleasure is okay. It sends the wrong message by telling people there is something called "responsible gambling" ...that gambling can be good. They should tell people gambling is bad and it can lead to harm. I'm not suggesting the govt ban gambling outright but the campaign message has to be that you do it at your own risk of harming yourself and your family.
This govt is so strict it censors what we watch and read. Yet it allows something as harmful as gambling to proliferate and the related problem of loan sharking to grow. The govt's limited effort in this area has been disappointing and that is why many Singaporeans believe the casino will bring more harm than good.