Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Casinos - Controlling the harm after damage is done...

"Singaporeans and permanent residents paid a total of $288 million in casino levies in 2011 and the first six months of this year." - Straits Times Breaking News[Link]

You do the maths. This translates to 2.88M visits to the casino for the last 18 months if we assume every Singaporean gambler pays $100 to get in. Those who pay $2000 in levy are likely to visit the casino more than 20 times per year so 2.88M is a lower bound of the estimated number of visits to the casinos. If you annualize it is about 2M visits a year and the govt collects $200M in levies alone per year. That is two visits for every three Singaporeans in the country. If you leave out children, it translate to roughly one or more visit per Singaporean adult per year. I can't think of any other attraction in Singapore that is more frequently visited than the casinos. According to reports 200,000 Singaporeans visit the casino every year [Link]and this works out to an average of 10 visits per gambler every year

The govt is now considering further measures to limit the visits for those who are financially vulnerable and problem gamblers[Link]. By the time someone is identified to be a problem gambler, it is probably too late. But it is still better than doing nothing. However, much more can be done. In S. Korea, for example, citizens are not allowed to enter the casinos[Link]. If the govt is serious, we can go much further with the measures - do an opt-in scheme rather than an exclusion scheme. If you want to go to the casino, apply to go in and get means tested and some counselling before you're allowed to play at the casinos. The problem is after you allow the building of casinos here, it is unpopular and difficult to implement measures targeting citizens - some will complain it is unfair to target them rather than the measures are there for protection.

While some argue that building the casinos right here is no big deal because those who want to gamble can travel to Genting or go on a cruise, the numbers tell us a different story. Putting a casino here in close proximity to where people live gives them easy access to casino gambling. Casino gambling is very different from Toto and 4D[Link] in its ability to cause addiction. The number of cases seen by NPGC has increase sharply since the casinos are built[Link]. The main beneficiaries are the 2 foreign companies operating the casinos that make billions in profits from Singaporeans every year. That money could have been spent on services and goods provided by Singapore businesses through domestic consumption. If you look around at the town central and observe carefully, you will notice that the number of pawn shops (Maxi-Cash, Money-Max etc) has increased several fold since the casinos opened. Maxi-Cash is doing a booming business and recently obtain a listing on the stock exchange to raise money for expansion[Maxi-Cash jumps 30% on IPO debut]. All this tells me there is a kind of decay happening in our society - it is similar to termites eating a wooden pillar, it is done from the inside, you see nothing on the surface until it is too late.


Lye Khuen Way said...

Lucky, your termite infestation analogy was spot on.
So we are calling in the pests busters!

Anonymous said...

Good observation especially about the pawn shops. The high profile cases of high ranking civil servants being probe for corruptions and the way the civil service spend public money (e.g. on expensive bicycles) are some symptoms of the decay in the singaporeans values and morallity. This decay has already destroyed many lives.

Anonymous said...

Of course leegalised Gaming Dens sure make tons of money one,our honourable MM Lee was not even thinking about the tax benefit,that was for no-brainers,
he was worried about the morelity gansters,prostitution,triads and other social problems.
MM Lee was worried for so many years,God would bless him,
unfortunately we had a strong Catholic and extremly brilliant Minister then who convinced him otherwise,that was how Marina Sands & Resorts World came into being.
It is time to sit down and listen to the beautiful sound of cash regisiter ringing.$$$$$$$$

Anonymous said...

"All this tells me there is a kind of decay happening in our society..."
Lucky Tan

Agreed, but the decay does not affect at least 60% majority vote support for PAP during elections.

In fact support for PAP even got slightly better in Hougang BE 2012 compared to 2011.

Or the opposition getting any stronger.

So does the decay really matter?

What do you think?

Clear eyed said...

Should we be surprised at this latest half-hearted repair job?After all damage control has always been the PAP style. As long as the money keeps rolling into their pocket they will sell anything and everything, including their soul. And then just manage the damage and negative reaction from the people, if any.

Anonymous said...

The Govt is now saying the tax revenue collected from the casinos is to help the community at large.

Can I say that the tax revenue collected is also to help sustain the luxurious lifestyles of our PAP's Ministers, cronies, etc. and therefore perpetuate PAP's political grip on power ?

When families are broken because of some family member's addicted gambling at our casinos, I am more concerned how does the tax revenues collected help those affected broken families ?

Will counselling alone really be of any help when the damage is already done ?

Anonymous said...

So does the decay really matter?
Anon 11/7/12 10:25

As long as within tolerable limits, any decay, defects or whatever is acceptable.

Those in the QC line in manufacturing can tell you more about tolerable limits and quality control.

Same thing applies for gambling and its effects on society lah.

There is no such thing as being pure and perfect what, tio bo?

Anonymous said...

a very good one.

same problem with mrt.

only realised it when too late.

Ng Eng Hou said...

Just feel that it is too late to control people entering the casino since you allow them to operate here, the damage is already been done.

Chinese people everywhere are born-gamblers. It is in our blood!

Ghost said...

Actually in S. Korea, some citizens (called VIPs) are allowed to enter the casinos. And I highly doubt if any further measures will stop Singaporeans from going to MBS or RWS. Pandora's Box once opened, cannot be closed.

Anonymous said...

" is similar to termites eating a wooden pillar, it is done from the inside, you see nothing on the surface until it is too late."
Lucky Tan

Not to worry, PAP being the govt can see the inside and they know best whether too late or not.

Or else how can PAP remain in power for 47 years and still going strong, unlike those in other countries?

Anonymous said...

How you see things depend on who you are.

The most important "see" is majority voters "see the same" which party they should vote during elections.

Others if "see differently" no use.

Anonymous said...

Remember we once had Korean as construction workers?

Today, Korean built ships, cars & deliver sophisticated instruments in youth's hand all over the world bundle with popularity in FnB, Art , Culture with amazing results.

The Korean is walking with head up high receiving respectable praises from tangible achievements.

PAP's FT policies & intake of vice industries on the other hand, shape nothing but quick dollars & inflated GDP from thin air for the benefits of the very few formulating these schemes.

I'll continue to cast vote to Opp as along as Casino is not unroot from here.

Anonymous said...

"unfortunately we had a strong Catholic and extremly brilliant Minister then who convinced him otherwise,that was how Marina Sands & Resorts World came into being.", Unquote.

Brilliant? Pious?

Hahaha..... anyone who uses vice to gain wealth is vile and sick.


Anonymous said...

The end justifies the means.

And the end is to generate income for the Gov by way of taxes,fees and rental. It is a model built on mathematics, percentage returns on investments. All numbers.

At the discussions stage, all these numbers were thrown up and it was compelling. No numbers could be thrown up on how many people will commit suicide,families broken and how much will it cost to repair, counsel, tweak.. whatever.

No numbers can describe social issues. It is not an exact science like business models.

The cost of a human soul incalculable.
Therefore it remains a footnote to all statistical data, projections.

Emotions can only be measured by proxy.. it yields are inaccurate.
and approximate..

Anonymous said...

in what way/s was george yeo an "extremely brilliant minister"?

also, what does his religion have to do with his views - as part of the govt - on gambling? after all, don't all religions have a similar view of gambling?

and why should his religious views determine a secular decision?

at the end too, lee kuan yew said yes to gambling. should one then say he was weak to do so? or just daft?

what do you think?

anon @9.32's remarks make no sense.

Anonymous said...

I have no comments.
Just keep my fingers crossed and say a little prayer everyday wishing all the best for Singapore and true blue Singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

Many Singaporeans, especiously the 60% Pro PAP voters thought that Singaporean are still the best, upright, etc. However, they don't know that those foreigners are laughing at Singaporeans need to depend on gaming for survival. Singaporean DNA have changed. IT only attract all the low graded people here, that why there is a relax in law for drugs criminal to escaped the Death penalty.

Anonymous said...

The whole show is still about how good the two casinos have been for Singapore. Jobs, GDP contribution of more than 1% etc.

All the side show in Parliament and in the MSM is just a hint of what is to come in their endeavour to collect more levies as we go along. Maybe a COE of sorts for bidding by those desperate to gsmble that will bring in a windfall which will further exonerate them, damaging or not.

Anonymous said...

Anony @ 13.54

(1)in what way/s was george yeo an "extremely brilliant minister"?
It is personal opinion,others may think GY is stupid and useless,
which I respect

(2)also, what does his religion have to do with his views - as part of the govt - on gambling? after all, don't all religions have a similar view of gambling?
No personal opinion on that,I state the fact that GY did change the MM's opinion for I know that M M has been terribly conservative,it is on record,read his view on casinos.

(3)and why should his religious views determine a secular decision?
I have no opinion

(4)at the end too, lee kuan yew said yes to gambling. should one then say he was weak to do so? or just daft?

what do you think?

(5)anon @9.32's remarks make no sense.
I respect your opinion on my opinion.

Anon @9.32

Anonymous said...

So we have greedy but stingy government voted by 60% Singaporeans. Correction - not stingy when paying their salary and shopping to improve productivity.

Anonymous said...

PAP's FT policies & intake of vice industries shape nothing but quick dollars & inflated GDP from thin air for the benefits of only a small minority.
The PAP has all along only view the citizens as their cash-cows. The tax revenue collected from the casinos will help sustain the luxurious lifestyles of our PAP's Ministers, cronies, etc. and therefore perpetuate PAP's political grip on power

do not lie to your own people said...

All governments in this world view their people as cash cows, not only PAP. Blame PAP or blame the people for letting this happens again and again?

Anonymous said...

Just like my boss in office, after create problems cos dun wan to follow best practice, den he will say "should hav dun that".
Wats the point if u dun solve the problem at the source???

DanielXX said...

Singaporeans want freedom to enjoy but they also want regulation to prevent them from enjoying too much. Sometime the problem lies with them too. Molly-coddling all these years has made Sinkies too domesticated.

ah lian said...

Some scholars are v good at tackling direct questions with standard answers, but not so good at thinking out open-ended questions. Our million-dollar elite gahmen seem to be full of these.

It's a v reactive gahmen. They suck at planning. They can even be surprised by the results of their own policies (eg. Woody "surprised" by foreign influx). I know I harp on this instance, but I find it really unforgivable! C'mon, the influx didn't happen overnight, how can it POSSIBLY surprise the gahmen when they're the one regulating the inflow? Oops, no, not regulating. They only chopped passports and gave visas. And it's someone down the line who forgot to keep count, the MIW were not at fault.

When a problem surfaced (How can? MIW's policies are perfect what. So surprising!) the gahmen will react to it as a stand alone problem. But use a standard answer for an open-ended question, sure score... F.

But nehmind, if it can make $, the F will mean: Fantastic!

So, number of problem gamblers rising? Maybe they can just raise the levy. Like too many cars, raise COEs, too many HDB flat buyers, raise HDB flat prices, too many patients, raise medical care costs!!!

They're eally talented, they only need one solution for everything!

Anonymous said...

It is worthwhile to re-read what a smart mind and anti-casinos lawyer Mr Wang said about GY and Casinos.
George Yeo and His True Legacy for Singapore

DareToAct said...

To me, this is similar to the "crossover" project

Anonymous said...

Too late liao. How to tell IR to leave? MIW should have trained an army of social workers, addiction counsellors, and beef up their police commercial crime and other sectors related to casinos long ago.
I was against casino and signed the online petition 4-5 years ago.
It's not just the harm to gambling addicts themselves - what about their families (they may have stolen money from family members), their friends and colleagues who loaned them $ without knowing the truth. Those heavily in debt may turn to crime... All these have a cost, sometimes not immediately measurable.

Anonymous said...

Let us be frank and honest.
No matter how fucked-up the Men/Women in White are, IT IS THE STUPID SHEEPLES THAT VOTED THEM.
So, are the SHEEPLEs not more fucked-up ?

do not lie to your people said...

How did you know that the elections are conducted true and fair? Just because PAP told you?

Anonymous said...

Hope the schools are checking if their students are bringing pokers cards to school to play. Even if no money is wage, it might become serious gambling as they grow up.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, the msm is controlled by miw. What alternative news source does the people have besides those who are internet savvy. What i heard was even newspapers from malaysia cannot be brought into singapore (maybe old news leow).

I think the people has been colour blinded by msm for so many years that they longer knows that white is not necessary white. All the news churned out by miw are used to influence and manipulate the people minds to miw advantage. Help the sheeples instead to realised that instead. No point blaming then because they have been made colour blind.

Anonymous said...

Know what you mean. Just caught my nephews playing "dua dai ti" or whatever "di". Elder is in secondary school and teaching his younger brother who is in primary school!


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