More curbs needed on clubs with jackpot machines

Gambling can be very addictive.

For some gamblers, no amount of education can stop them until they become helpless and reach the point of no return.

It is worse if the activity is legal.

We have too many licensed gambling clubs which are easily accessible.

In Bukit Batok, there is a Civil Service Club outlet. The club is supposed to be for civil servants, but for $6, anyone can become a social member for a month and gamble there. It is very tempting.

The authorities must take action fast before more victims fall into the jackpot machine hole.

First, they must stop giving out licences to clubs whose main purpose is the operation of jackpot machines.

Second, fees to play at the clubs' jackpot rooms should be raised. Members should also be allowed to play the jackpot machines only, say, four times a month, and be restricted as to how much they can play each time.

A system should be set up to link all the clubs with jackpot machines and track the number of times a person plays at the machines and the amount of money played.

The practice of allowing members who run out of cash to buy credits with their ATM cards should be stopped. No ATMs should be allowed on the premises either.

With these measures, we may be able to stop addicts from visiting the clubs again.

Wee Gim Leong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 08, 2017, with the headline 'More curbs needed on clubs with jackpot machines'. Print Edition | Subscribe