The Singapore government last month began to take applications for its exclusion list that will hopefully prevent problem gamblers from entering the city-state’s two casinos, the first of which will open later this year.
The ban is part of an extensive program that will be set up to identify, protect and treat problem gamblers. Some of the other measures being implemented are an entry fee for locals and loss limits.
Families can now begin to apply to have members banned from the casino. To do so, they must document the member’s gambling activities and how it has harmed the family. They must also undergo counseling before the application is accepted.
“Often, families with problem gambling issues have more immediate financial and stress issues to manage, and if these are not tackled at the same time, the family may not be able to cope emotionally and financially,” said Lim Hock San, the chairman of Singapore’s National Council on Problem Gambling.
The only other place in the world where this sort of ban is practiced is in South Australia. In the four years the program has been in place, only eight bans have been issued out of only 18 applications.
Mildred Tan, a member of the council, says that she expects a similar kind of reaction in Singapore because it will put strains upon family units.
“But whatever the number that comes, we will offer all the help we can to start the healing process,” she says.
Within the next few months, Singapore will also implement voluntary self-exclusion and third-party exclusion orders, where people with un-discharged bankruptcies and those receiving public assistance will be barred from the casinos. The later would be the first of its kind in the world.