Singapore plans to impose limits by the middle of next year on the number of times per month that citizens who acknowledge or are judged to have a gambling problem may visit the city-state’s two integrated resorts.
The new rules are part of a package of amendments to the Casino Control Act passed by the parliament as part of an ongoing review by the government of its existing regulatory framework, already one of the strictest in the world. Social safeguards for non-casino gambling, including remote gambling, are also being studied.
“Though the casino is a small component of the entire IR development, we recognize the impact it can have on law and order and problem gambling,” said Second Minister for Home Affairs, Trade and Industry S Iswaran. “The government is determined to keep Singapore safe and secure, and to ensure that our society’s strong work ethics and values are not compromised.”
Generally, the limits will take three forms: individuals can apply to the National Council on Problem Gambling for voluntary self-imposed limits; family members can apply for family visit limits; or the NCPG will have the power to appoint a Committee of Assessors to determine whether a third-party visit limit should be imposed on a person. Individuals will have the right to be heard and the right of appeal.
Gambling by Singaporeans has been a concern of the government since the outset of the casino experiment. To limit local participation, the number of slot machines and casino floor space are capped by statute. Locals must pay either a daily or annual fee to enter the gambling areas. Also, about 130,000 Singaporeans have been excluded from the two casinos to date.