Casino levies fall to lowest level since 2010

Singaporeans and PRs have to pay a $100 daily levy or $2,000 annual levy to enter a casino here.
Singaporeans and PRs have to pay a $100 daily levy or $2,000 annual levy to enter a casino here. PHOTO: ST FILE

S'poreans, PRs paid $134m in fees in last financial year, down 21% from 2012/2013

Casino levies paid by Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) here are at their lowest level since the casinos at Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands were opened in 2010.

The Singapore Totalisator Board (Tote Board) collected $134 million in casino entry levies in its last financial year, which ended in March this year - down 21 per cent from the $170 million collected in the 2012/2013 financial year (FY).

The sums collected for the past five financial years were listed in the Tote Board's latest annual report, which was released yesterday.

Singaporeans and PRs have to pay a $100 daily levy or $2,000 annual levy to enter a casino here.

Economist Song Seng Wun said: "The shine of the casinos and its novelty have worn off."

Also out of favour with punters: Horse racing, where turnover fell from $1.6 billion in FY2012/2013 to $1.2 billion in FY2016/2017.

But the lure of 4D, Toto and soccer betting is growing steadily, with $7.2 billion spent on lotteries and sports betting in the last financial year, 15 per cent more than the $6.2 billion in FY2012/2013.

  • HELPLINES

  • National Council on Problem Gambling

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  • Blessed Grace Social Services

    8428-6377

Counsellors who work with gambling addicts said fewer Singaporeans and PRs are going to the casinos here as they are put off by the need to pay an entry levy, and opting for alternatives instead: Illegal online casinos where gamblers can bet on credit, unlike in the casinos here, where they have to fork out cash upfront to bet.

Besides, those who have lost all their money are likely to have barred themselves or have been banned from the casinos here by their families, said Pastor Billy Lee, executive director of Blessed Grace Social Services, which runs a support group for gambling addicts.

The website of the National Council on Problem Gambling shows that as of Sept 30 this year, more than 25,000 Singaporeans or PRs have banned themselves from the casinos, or their families have applied for an exclusion order to ban them from entering.

 

And almost 47,000 are automatically excluded as they are undischarged bankrupts or are receiving government financial aid, among other reasons.

It was previously reported that Singaporeans and PRs made an average of 17,000 visits a day in 2012, down from 20,000 visits in 2010 when the casinos first opened.

This is one of the few pieces of publicly available information on the number of local visitors, and is based on data contained in the 2013 Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore annual report.

The sums wagered on lotteries and sports, such as soccer and motor racing, continue to climb. This has been rising each year in the Tote Board's past five financial years.

Counsellors said that the sums wagered at the legal outlets are but a fraction of the sums spent on illegal gambling. Many of the gambling addicts they see place illegal bets online.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 24, 2017, with the headline 'Casino levies fall to lowest level since 2010'. Print Edition | Subscribe