Friday, December 10, 2010

Should casinos be allowed to lend money?

I strongly opposed the opening of the 2 casinos because I believe the harm it brings to our society far outweighs the benefits. Since the casinos opened there has been an endless stream of crimes committed at the casinos - impersonation, stealing chips, cheating, prostitution, etc. There were also many stories of families destroyed and people financially ruined by casino gambling. Singaporeans working there complained of the jobs are no good[Link]. Each of the foreign owned casinos are on target to earn about $1B in profits per year. The govt collects hundreds of millions in taxes and entrance fees to the casinos. It is clear who really gains from these casinos....and who the losers are.

.....What is worse than gambling your money away at the casino? Borrowing money to gamble at the casinos.....

A number of high profile cases of people ued by the casino to make good their losses have emerged in recent months. These cases usually involved "premium" members who are fairly rich (so we don't have to feel too sorry for them) and have impulsively gambled away more than they can afford to lose because the casinos extended credit to them.

The govt says it is concerned about problem gambling yet it allows casinos to lend Singaporeans money to gamble. Money lending and casino gambling are a deadly mix and we have string of cases of people (partially and completely) ruined by this.
Before the casinos were build, money lending was a tightly regulated activity - there are limits to the unsecured amount you can lend a person, there are rules on the type of loans you can make, interest you can charge. Earlier this year the govt acted to rein in unethical lending[Link] - moneylender doubling as housing agents were ripping off Singaporeans in need of quick cash looking to sell their HDB flats. I can't think of any form of money lending worse than lending money for a person to gamble - it was something only illegal loan sharks would do. The 2 casino are already making so much money ...the govt don't have to worry about their bottomline and ability recoup the billions they invested (much of which borrowed from Singapore banks!) why doesn't the govt rein in the casinos' moneylending activities?


MBS sues for alleged non-payment of credit extension
by Ng Jing Yng Updated 05:25 PM Dec 07, 2010
SINGAPORE - Marina Bay Sands (MBS) is suing a casino patron it describes as a "premium" player for alleged non-payment of $240,868 in credit extension but the man is disputing its claim that he owes it money.

In the first legal suit of its kind here, MBS claims it had extended credit to Mr Lester Ong Boon Lin, 30, as he was a premium player with a minimum deposit of $100,000 with the casino.

According to court documents filed by MBS, Mr Ong applied for a $1 million credit extension in May and presented a cheque of an unknown amount to the casino as a form of security. MBS then decided to extend $250,000 in casino chips to Mr Ong and both parties allegedly entered an agreement documenting this. It was not stated in the documents why MBS was not demanding the repayment of the full sum.

Mr Ong is denying these claims, saying he was not a premium player as he had withdrawn the $100,000 deposit to buy gambling chips before credit was extended to him.

In his defence filed by lawyer Sunil Singh Panoo of Messrs Dhillon & Partners, Mr Ong further contends that the MBS is deemed to be a moneylender under the law as it had extended credit to a non-premium member. He argues that the credit extended is "unenforceable and not recoverable" since MBS is not a licensed moneylender.

Mr Ong also claims that the credit extended to him was an unsolicited offer (corrected at 5:20PM, Dec 7).

Court papers showed that MBS first filed its writ of summons against Mr Ong on Oct 14, after failing to encash his cheque and unsuccessful attempts to seek payment from him.

Following Mr Ong's defence, the MBS'reply - filed by lawyers Surenthiraraj Saunthararajah and Toh Wei Yi of Harry Elias Partnership - reiterates that Mr Ong had deposited $100,000 cash to qualify as a premium player before credit was given to him. It says that $250,000 worth of casino chips would not have been offered in the absence of an agreement between the two parties.

The MBS also alleges that Mr Ong has never denied the debt when it tried to seek payment from him from May to August. He had also made various proposals for repayment.

The MBS is seeking at least $250,000 - the minimum for a High Court case - in damages and cost.


Anonymous said...

I am not surprised that many casino workers are working under typical Singapor working conditions - low pay, long hours, very few or non-existant OT pay, and benefits that can be arbitarily taken away.

It is common Singapore (and maybe global culture) that managers and employers begrudge paying their workers a decent wage, but will not hesitat to splash out $100k to hang new paintings in the office.

I also know of bosses who will insist on getting paid massive bonuses, but will bargain with toilet cleaners down to the last couple of hundred dollars when it comes to their annual pay. Same boss, who demands 5-digit monthly salary, can tell janitor that office has no budge to raise janitor pay, which has been stuck for the past 5 years.

Rents are high. So workers have to work longer hours for lower pay, so that casino can make more money to pay off their rents and bank loans.

We are always urged to sacrifice for the greater good, in hopes for a better tomorrow. After working for years, I realized that every single person, from politician to pastor to office manager, are lying whenever they urge you to sacrifice more now so that the future will be brighter.

They all have no intentions on fulfilling the part about your own future being brigther. They all just want to exploit you for personal gain. Every single time.

Anonymous said...

All things, the good and bad, come in as a package.

For instance, delicious and tasty food (good) may have high fat and cholesterol content(bad).

Or medicine - to cure, prevent or delay disease, etc (good) may have bad side effects.

Or some girls, easy come (good) but also easy go (bad).

You can't separate out the bad. No way or else earth will become heaven, right?

Most important is that as a whole, the bad is still tolerable.

And of course in the case of casinos, it is the government who decides what is tolerable, although you and I or Lucky Tan, (nobodies where power and authority is concerned) may not agree. And doesn't matter too.

Unless of course you, I or Lucky Tan contest and win the elections and can form the government.

And just like going to war, some soldiers will die (bad). But most will not and the battle needs to be won. (good). Who decides? The leaders and generals, not the foot soldiers! And very bad for those who die!

Just like very bad for losers who cannot afford to lose at casinos!

Anonymous said...

It is a pyramid scheme:

believe it.

Comet said...

You just compare the contribution to GDP revenue and employment of tourism here.

It is so insignficant, and mind you, I haven't even talk about the contribution of Intergrated resort to Tourism in Singapore.

So if you analyse further, how much is the ACTUAL contribution of these IRs here to our economy (GDP growth) and employment in terms of percentage?

And in this employment, how much of it make up of Singaporeans.

We spent so much time and resource debating about these 2 IRs and the social ill effects of casinos.


I think the PAP hidden agenda is not employment but to make Singapore more 'well known' to other people. Even the indirect benefits will not add much.

Bu then, if he PRs and foreigner can find jobs here, they will also support the prices of property markets (both office and residential properties). This may be an unintended benefits for Singaporeans.

Even then, this is one aspect of the Government which I think MM Lee and LHL had really done wrong, or should I said, miscalculated for the benefits for Singaporeans but not willling to admit it.

Why do I said so? Because they had OVERSOLD the idea it to Singaporeans, yes there are some benefits, but not that SIGNIFICANT.

The reason is because the nature of the economy is not dependent on tourism.

Here is another interesting link for you pleasure reading

Singapore should compete with others where she has distinct advantages but I believe tourism is not one of them, sad to say.

Think about what I said. Sometimes I think I should go to Speakers Corner and give my views. Or write to the Opposition Parties to ask them to raise it in Parliament.

Comet said...

In the first place, the 2 Integrated Resorts are not important in terms of contribution to Singapore economy.

If this place is Hong Kong, Malaysia or Thailand, I would give it a thought to have these 2 resorts. And I may consider giving license for casinos to operate here.

You know why?

Here is the link


Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
The contribution of Travel & Tourism to Gross Domestic Product is expected to rise from 8.1% (SGD21.6bn or US$15.4bn) in 2010 to 8.5% (SGD41.9bn or US$30.8bn) by 2020.

The contribution of the Travel & Tourism economy to employment is expected to rise from 178,000 jobs in 2010, 6.3% of total employment or 1 in every 15.9 jobs to 232,000 jobs, 7.3% of total employment or 1 in every 13.8 jobs by 2020.

The Singapore Travel & Tourism economy is ranked number:

40 in absolute size worldwide
98 in relative contribution to national economies

Malaysia :

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
The contribution of Travel & Tourism to Gross Domestic Product is expected to decline from 13.4% (MYR97.6bn or US$29.0bn) in 2010 to 13.3% (MYR196.0bn or US$65.3bn) by 2020.

The contribution of the Travel & Tourism economy to employment is expected to rise from 1,331,000 jobs in 2010, 11.9% of total employment or 1 in every 8.4 jobs to 1,721,000 jobs, 12% of total employment or 1 in every 8.3 jobs by 2020.

The Malaysia Travel & Tourism economy is ranked number:

32 in absolute size worldwide
48 in relative contribution to national economies
102 in long-term (10-year) growth


Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
The contribution of Travel & Tourism to Gross Domestic Product is expected to rise from 13.9% (THB1,299.9bn or US$38.4bn) in 2010 to 17.8% (THB3,325.6bn or US$86.6bn) by 2020.

The contribution of the Travel & Tourism economy to employment is expected to rise from 4,000,000 jobs in 2010, 10.4% of total employment or 1 in every 9.6 jobs to 5,987,000 jobs, 14.1% of total employment or 1 in every 7.1 jobs by 2020.

The Thailand Travel & Tourism economy is ranked number:

26 in absolute size worldwide
44 in relative contribution to national economies

Hong Kong

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
The contribution of Travel & Tourism to Gross Domestic Product is expected to rise from 16.1% (HKD279.2bn or US$36.0bn) in 2010 to 17.9% (HKD615.0bn or US$79.4bn) by 2020.

The contribution of the Travel & Tourism economy to employment is expected to rise from 577,000 jobs in 2010, 16.3% of total employment or 1 in every 6.1 jobs to 751,000 jobs, 18.5% of total employment or 1 in every 5.4 jobs by 2020.

The Hong Kong Travel & Tourism economy is ranked number:

27 in absolute size worldwide
34 in relative contribution to national economies

Anonymous said...

singapore is not after switzerland but monaco model. Migrate for the sake of your children.

Anonymous said...

Comet,thank you for that interesting link,It is now crystal clear to me that MM LKY has already decided that Spore will not stop at two gaming dens,but at least 20 or 40,knowing his style of "Whatever you do,go all the way!"

Comet said...

Thank you for those compluments from the person called Anonymous.

I just want to provide another another perspective on issues so that people can have a better appreciation of what is actually happening in Singapore.

Lucky Tan said...

anon 10:44,

The fiat money system gives some the advantage of being positioned close the creation of money - this is described in wikipedia and even textbooks. What happened in 2008 and interest in the system resulted in a greater understanding of the issues. The system itself exacerbates the income gap and there is ongoing rejection of the system - the lastest being football star Eric Cantona's call to boycott the banks by withdrawing all deposites.

The system makes a mockery of what we term as meritorcacy. The bankers, financial engineers, investment bankers who make hundreds of millions are not 100 times smarter than the ordinary person - Wee Cho Yaw is a good far sighter banker but how much of his billions is due to his far-sightedness and how much of it is due to the simply to the banking license granted to him to operate banks in Singapore.

Alan Wong said...

I think basically the PAP Govt's attitude has been that as long as you pay me the entrance fees, you can gamble for all I care. The govt won't give a damn either if you gambled your pants away, if your family breaks up or that your parents is going to disown you.

What is important to them at the end of the day is that they get to count the extra bonuses that they will be getting just like what LSS says he is so happy looking at his CPF figures.

A responsible govt is one who will try to solve the social problems that we are facing. But our PAP govt seems to be one who has no qualms at creating the fertile grounds for more social ills!

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