More social safeguards and tighter rules for casinos

The government plans to amend the Casino Control Act to ensure that its rules and practices keep pace with developments in the industry and international best practices, as well as ensure that the integrated resorts remain relevant as attractive tourist destinations.

The Casino Control Act, which came into effect in 2006, provides the main legislative basis for managing the casinos in Singapore.

It ensures that criminal activities associated with casino operations do not take root in Singapore, that gaming is conducted honestly, and vulnerable persons and society at large are protected from the potential harm of casino gambling.

The integrated resorts have contributed significantly to Singapore's economy and tourism landscape since their opening in 2010 with Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), Ministry of Finance (MOF), and the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) have benefitted from the practical experience in regulating and managing the casinos over the past two years and, therefore, think it timely to propose a review of the casino regulatory regime and the Casino Control Act.

There five key aspects to the amendments are crime, gaming, social, economic and tax.

The Straits Times reported that one new law will give the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) the power to limit the number of times a gambler can visit the casino.

Another amendment could see casino operators being slapped with penalties of up to hundreds of millions, instead of the current maximum of $1 million, should they be censured by the Casino Regulatory Authority.

The government is also seeking comments and feedback on its proposed amendments.

Public consultation will start on Monday, July 9 and end on Aug 6, 2012.

Members of the public can access the public consultation document and the draft Bill at the REACH portal at www.reach.gov.sg.

Feedback can be submitted to mha_cca_consultation@mha.gov.sg.

The NCPG will also be holding closed-door consultations with various stakeholders such as religious groups, community and social services groups, to hear their views on the proposed social safeguard enhancements.

A summary report of the feedback received will be published after the end of the consultations with the public and relevant stakeholders.

spanaech@sph.com.sg

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