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Singapore extends local casino bans

Up to 15,000 additional Singaporeans are to be banned from gambling in the country’s two casino resorts, according to plans unveiled by the government. The move amid concerns that financially vulnerable citizens are gambling too much.

singapore-casinoExtending the ban

Singapore already has strict controls in place to prevent vulnerable citizens from gambling at its two new casino resorts, the Marina Bay Sands and the Resorts World Sentosa. Some 28,000 of its citizens are already barred from gambling there, either because they’re in a state of undischarged bankruptcy, or are receiving government assistance.

As of July 2012, this scheme will be extended to those receiving unemployment benefit, or those who are living in state-owned housing and are six or more months behind on their rent. This extension is expected to affected around 15,000 people.


Rise in gambling amounts

According to the government, the extension of the ban comes after changes were noticed in the gambling habits of its lower-income citizens. Although fewer Singaporeans are gambling nowadays – down to 47% in 2011 from 58% in 2008 – statistics show that the amounts being gambled by those on low incomes has actually increased.


According to government figures, the number of low-income gamblers betting $1000 or more a month has more than doubled to two percent since 2008. The state has therefore felt it needs to step in to protect these people from the pitfalls of gambling.


A troubled relationship

Singapore’s relationship with gambling is a complex one. Although the impact the casinos have had on tourism in the country has been very much welcomed, this traditionally conservative nation has implemented steps to deter its own population from gambling at the two resorts.


As it stands, it seems that this contrasting system of standards is unlikely to change in the near future.