Safeguards against problem gambling in place

The casino at Resorts World Sentosa.
The casino at Resorts World Sentosa.ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

We agree with both Dr Ho Ting Fei and Mr Lim Chee Khiam (Address social impact of gambling before expanding casinos, April 8; and Look at negative impact of football betting, April 12; respectively), who wrote about the need to continue monitoring problem gambling closely.

The 2017 Gambling Participation Survey showed that the presence of the integrated resorts (IRs) has not led to an increase in pathological and problem gambling among Singaporeans. The combined pathological and problem gambling rate has decreased from 2.6 per cent in 2011, just after the IRs opened, to 0.9 per cent in 2017.

Nevertheless, we need to keep up our vigilance. Individuals can apply for casino exclusions or casino visit limits to stop or limit the frequency of their visits, or those of their family members.

The Government continues to strengthen social safeguards.

On April 4, the daily and annual entry levies for the casinos were raised from $100 to $150, and from $2,000 to $3,000, respectively.

The Government also requires the IRs to put in place responsible gambling measures.

We will do a study with the IRs to identify and use technology to give patrons information to allow them to make informed decisions and regulate their gambling.

We also watch the gambling situation outside of the IRs closely.

For example, safeguards are in place to prevent betting on credit or access to free bets for land-based gambling and online gambling offered by Singapore Pools.

Additionally, all online gambling account holders with Singapore Pools are required to set daily funding and expenditure limits. Singaporeans who are under casino exclusion orders are also not allowed to open or maintain online gambling accounts with Singapore Pools.

These safeguards are complemented by the National Council on Problem Gambling's public education efforts.

These include awareness talks and roadshows, which are organised with community and private organisations as well as educational institutions. We will conduct more of such outreach programmes with our partners.

Audrey Seah

Director

Gambling Safeguards Division

Ministry of Social and Family Development

Lin Qinghui

Director

Policy Development and Security

Ministry of Home Affairs

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 24, 2019, with the headline 'Safeguards against problem gambling in place'. Print Edition | Subscribe