RWS fined S$600,000 for partially reimbursing entry levy
Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) has been fined $600,000 for breaching social safeguards against problem gambling - by partially reimbursing the annual entry levy for about 3,400
local casino patrons.
Several of its employees are being investigated by the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) for possible criminal offences.
The Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore (CRA) said on Wednesday that the fine of $600,000 is the highest single financial penalty imposed so far for breaching the Casino Control Act (CCA).
It started investigations after it was informed by the public that they had received complimentary Universal Studios Singapore (USS) tickets when they renewed their annual entry levies.
It found that between 1 February 2011 and 31 May 2011, RWS staff members carried out a marketing programme, giving incentives such as USS tickets, concert tickets and hotel accommodation to locals when they bought or renewed their annual entry levies.
About 3,400 local casino patrons were partially reimbursed the cost of the annual entry levy.
The CRA said although the marketing programme was carried out by a handful of RWS' staff members, it holds RWS responsible for its employees' actions.
RWS had also breached CRA's reporting requirements, as it did not submit details of this marketing programme to the authority.
This breach has been taken into consideration by the CRA.
During the investigations, CRA also discovered that certain documents submitted by RWS staff members to CRA could have been forged.
False or misleading information could have been provided to CRA.
The CRA referred these cases to the CAD for investigation into possible criminal offences.
The CRA is also investigating the culpability of the employees involved to ascertain whether they had breached the CCA, as well as conditions of their Special Employee Licences.
In a separate statement, Police said three employees of RWS will be charged by the CAD on Thursday.
Lee Poh Yee, Senior Vice President of Gaming Services Department, will be charged with providing false information to CRA inspectors.
Lim Tze Chean, Vice President of VIP Services, Gaming Services Department, will be charged with providing false information to CRA inspectors and forgery.
Sim Bee Ling, Assistant Manager of VIP Services, Gaming Services Department, will be charged with abetment of forgery.
CAD started investigations on 19 September 2011 after receiving information from the CRA.
The CRA stressed that the entry levy is one of many social safeguards put in place to address problem gambling.
Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents have to pay an annual entry levy of $2,000 or a daily entry levy of $100 per 24-hour entry to the casinos.
Casino operators cannot refund or reimbursing the entry levy, whether directly or indirectly.
The CRA said it has stressed this requirement several times to the casino operators and this requirement is clearly spelt out in the CCA.
Chief Executive of CRA, Mr Lau Peet Meng, pointed out that this is the second time RWS has breached the law involving the reimbursement of entry levy.
He said the CRA has asked the operator to review its casino marketing programmes and promotions to ensure that there are no further direct or indirect reimbursements of the entry levy.
He said even though RWS has put in place measures to strengthen its compliance processes, the CRA is sending a clear signal to the operator to comply fully with the social safeguards to protect locals at all times.
"While we note that RWS has put in place measures to strengthen its compliance processes as a result of this breach, CRA is sending a clear signal to the operator that it should comply fully with the social safeguards put in place to protect locals. Compliance to our laws and regulations must be strictly adhered to at all times," he said.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry, Mr S Iswaran, said the CRA has firmly dealt with this repeat breach by RWS.
He said the financial penalty imposed reflects the tough stance the CRA takes in maintaining the integrity of Singapore's casino gaming industry and social safeguards.
Mr Iswaran said the CRA will continue to closely monitor and assess the casino operators' compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, and take appropriate disciplinary actions if there are breaches.
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