Nothing to make gamblers switch to legal channels

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin said that the online gambling problem cannot be completely eradicated and is growing ("Regulated online betting safer for users: Minister"; Oct 7).

The reasoning behind the idea that by providing "tightly controlled" online betting channels, the Government would be able to look out for individuals who gamble online, is flawed.

If online gambling is illegal now and we cannot control it, how is it to be eradicated by providing legal channels? Some illegal gamblers may turn to the legal alternative, but what is to stop others from using both legal and illegal avenues at the same time?

Having legal online gambling channels just provides an additional and convenient avenue for them.

It also provides convenience and ease of access to IT-savvy youngsters why may otherwise not actively look for online gambling portals.

It would be difficult for their parents or loved ones to stop them, as they could say that the Government has approved of it.

Once the legal channels whet their appetite, nothing can stop them from looking for illegal ones as they develop a gambling addiction.

Since the opening of the two casinos, despite all the controls in place, the number of cases of problem gambling has increased.

We should learn a lesson from that and not allow the problem to worsen.

Seah Soon Huat