Updated: 11/16/2012 01:57

Casino visit limit regime for problem gamblers to kick-in middle next year

Casino visit limit regime for problem gamblers to kick-in middle next year

Singapore's two integrated resorts or IRs have generated significant economic benefits for Singapore, says Second Minister for Trade and Industry and Home Affairs, S Iswaran. 

But he adds that there's the on-going challenge of ensuring that the country's social safeguards protect the vulnerable from the casinos. 

Hence among the changes introduced to the Casino Control Bill - the introduction of the visit limit that's due to kick in by the middle of next year. 

There are now exclusion orders for problem gamblers. 

There will soon be visit limits on financially vulnerable locals who visit casinos frequently. 

The visit limit will set a cap on the number of times an individual may visit the casino each month. 

It may differ from person to person, depending on each individual's circumstances. 

And individuals will have the right to be heard and the right of appeal. 

Some 4,000 to 6,000 locals could come under this regime. 

Mr Iswaran said the government acknowledges the impact of problem gambling on Singaporeans and will act on it. 

"Though the casino is a small component of the entire IR development, we recognise the impact it can have on law and order and problem gambling. Hence, from the outset, we have sought to establish a stringent casino regulatory regime, with strong enforcement measures, and strict social safeguards to address the potential adverse effects." 

The Government is determined to keep Singapore safe and secure, and to ensure that our society's strong work ethic and values are not compromised.

On the employment side, the IRs directly hire more than 22,000 employees and have spun off more than 40,000 jobs throughout the economy. 

The IRs have broadened the range of job and career opportunities for Singaporeans, with the bulk of the jobs in the IRs in areas such as theme park operations, retail and food and beverage.

Mr Iswaran also said the two IRs have committed a total development investment of over S$13 billion. 

"Over the past two years, the IRs have generated significant economic benefits for Singapore. At the same time, government ministries and agencies have been vigilant, and endeavoured to minimise any adverse social impact, and to maintain law and order. This Amendment Bill will put us on an even more robust legislative footing to effectively regulate the industry for the long term."

Mr Iswaran said that while Singapore's tourism industry has grown, the tourism landscape in the region is also becoming increasingly competitive. 

So the Trade and Industry Ministry will appoint an Evaluation Panel to assess the ability of the IR operators to fulfil their economic obligations. 

And this will be considered on the basis of a broad range of indicators such as visitor appeal and benchmarks with respect to similar international attractions.

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