Singapore will bar about 15,000 more citizens and permanent residents, including low-income and unemployed people, from entering its two casinos as part of efforts to contain the social impact of casino gambling in the city-state.
Starting July 1, about 12,000 residents-including the unemployed-who are receiving short- to medium-term financial aid from the government will be barred from the casinos, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports said late Thursday in a statement.
The government will also bar, starting August 1, about 3,000 public-housing tenants who are in arrears of six or more months on their subsidised rental payments, the ministry added.
“We want to protect the financially vulnerable who can ill afford casino gambling,” acting minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing said in the statement, citing a 2011 official survey that showed an increasing proportion of low-income gamblers in Singapore playing with large sums.
These new casino exclusions add to the 28,000 people already barred on government orders from Singapore’s casinos-Genting Singapore PLC’s Resorts World Sentosa and Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s LVS -0.89 percent Marina Bay Sands.
Residents currently barred on government orders include those who have declared bankruptcy and people receiving long-term government financial aid.
Singapore dropped a longstanding ban on casino gambling in 2005, paving the way for its first licensed casino resorts to open in early 2010 as the island state sought to spice up its reputation as a travel destination and reap more tourism dollars.
Critics had opposed the casinos, fearing a rise in social problems like organised crime and gambling addiction. To contain the impact, the government imposed casino entry levies on citizens and permanent residents of S$100 a day and S$2,000 annually. Authorities also banned advertising targeting locals and rolled out social programmes to discourage heavy gambling.