Keeping low-income gamblers from casinos

More must be done to discourage low-income gamblers from frequenting the casinos, fight casino crime and hold the two integrated resort (IR) operators to their agreement to provide sustained economic benefits to Singapore.

So the Government is proposing several amendments to the Casino Control Act that will, among other things, condition the renewal of the IRs' casino licences on their performance in terms of their attractiveness as tourist destinations.

That is to ensure that the IRs are not just focused on casino marketing and maximising gaming profits, but also committing more resources to responsible gambling and voluntary social safeguard programmes, analysts say.

Meanwhile, the new rules also give the National Council on Problem Gambling power to limit the number of casino visits by frequent gamblers, especially those at risk of problem gambling.

It will now be an offence for those who pay the daily entry levy to overstay the 24-hour limit without paying the additional levy. There are, however, no plans to change the casino entry levy for now.

Another amendment proposes to assess substantially higher financial penalties against the casino operators by raising the limit to 10 per cent of the casino's total gross gaming revenues, from $1 million now, should they be subject to disciplinary action by the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA).

Casino operators are also required to notify the CRA immediately of unresolved patron disputes. Public consultation on the proposed amendments to the Casino Control Act will end on Aug 6. The Government is seeking views from the public, industry and stakeholders before finalising the Bill, possibly by year-end.

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