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!)...so 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.