Singapore Balances Gambling Industry With Sustainable TourismJanuary 8, 2013 2:15 pm
The wealthy Asian city-state of Singapore has taken steps to balance the economic profits derived from its casino market with any potential social costs, by further linking casino operator licenses to how well they develop their unrelated gambling attractions.
In the past, measures the casino operators have taken to develop their non-gambling related tourism include the addition of high-end hotels and restaurants, as well as theme parks, theaters, museums and boutiques.
These are all seen as ways to protect Singapore from the adverse effects related from gambling while sustaining a healthy tourism sector. As Genting chairman Lim Kok Thay, elaborates: “The domestic market.. will be sustained by inflow from the foreign players. As we open more facilities, that will give us an edge in marketing overseas and in telling the world we are not just a gaming resort, but we have other things for families to do. It does help us in our gaming revenue.”
Now, further proposed amendments to the Casino Control Act are expected to pass into law soon. These include even more stringent rules for Singapore’s two casino operators, Las Vegas Sands Corp and Genting Singapore Plc, as well as tougher fines for non-compliance. Measures to ensure the social costs of gambling are kept to a minimum include native residents paying a casino entry fee of S$100 a day. Furthermore, whereas at present there is a cap on casino fines of S$1 million, the new rules could see a casino penalized 10% of its yearly gross gaming revenue, which could potentially cost the casino around S$200 million.
Explaining Singapore’s casino market strategy further, Yap Wai Ming from Stamford Law Corp said: “It is timely that the legislation be reviewed and further tweaks be made to ensure that the objectives of setting up the integrated resorts are achieved. They have already invested billions of dollars and the casinos are still generating very healthy profits despite the enforcement actions.”