Don't make it easier to gamble

The crowd at a Singapore Pools outlet.
The crowd at a Singapore Pools outlet.PHOTO: ST FILE

I am dismayed that Singapore Pools is making it easier and quicker for people to gamble ("Skip the queue for Toto and 4-D bets?"; last Saturday).

It is undeniable that, over the years, there has been a rise in the number of gambling addicts. There is also an increasing number of suicides and broken families arising from problem gambling.

With 300 betting outlets islandwide, you can find an outlet at every corner. People are placing bets in the morning, spending their day's wage even before they earn it.

Why are we encouraging more gambling?

Singapore Pools says it is looking into using self-service kiosks to deal with the manpower crunch.

However, these kiosks will soon operate around the clock. Coupled with the ease of gambling online, we are on a dangerous path.

How can we control who uses these kiosks? Who will be there to check the age of the punters?

Let us not justify our decision to install betting kiosks by saying that China, the United States and Australia have also done so.

It is perfectly all right for long queues to form. This is one way to discourage gambling.

I strongly urge the authorities not to allow such kiosks to make gambling easier, as we have enough problems with gambling for now.

James Wong Joo Sin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2015, with the headline 'Don't make it easier to gamble'. Print Edition | Subscribe