Singapore Casino Fines Down 63% to Just $43k in 2017-18

Singapore Casino Fines Down 63% to Just $43k in 2017-18

Singapore’s casino model has long been held up as a shinning example for the world, and praised for being able to extract maximum benefits from gambling, while reducing any potential downsides associated with the industry.

This has been reaffirmed once more in a recent report released by the Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore (CRA) showing that Marina Bay Sands (photo) and Resorts World Sentosa received just SG$60k (US$43,400) in fines during the 12 month period ending March 31, 2018. Furthermore, that figure was down by 63.6% compared to the previous report covering 2016-17, which in turn was 60.5% down on 2015-16.

Total Fines Decline

The Genting owned Resorts World Sentosa accounted for most of the penalties levied, and had to pay out SG$55k for allowing three underage gamblers (under 21) and one excluded patron to access its gaming floor. Meanwhile, the Las Vegas Sands owned Marina Bay Sands was fined SG$5k for permitting a permanent resident to access its casino floor without having first paid the SG$100 casino entry fee imposed by the CRA.

Needless to say, the list of infringements is hardly exhaustive and clearly demonstrates that Singapore’s casinos are learning from past mistakes and continuing to streamline their systems for monitoring customer gambling activities.

Casino-Linked Crime Minimal

In the forward to the 2017-18 report, CRA chairman Tan Tee How highlighted that an important goal of the regulatory authority was to ensure casino management and operations within the country’s casinos were carried out by suitable persons “free from criminal influence or exploitation”. After highlighting that casino-linked crime connected to casino gambling was “under control”, he also noted:

“Casino-related crime remains a small proportion of overall crime in Singapore at less than 1 percent, and organized crime has not entrenched itself in the casinos.”

Addiction Rate Less Than 1%

Singapore established its casino market in 2010, but restricted the market to just two high end integrated resorts meant to act more as tourist attractions rather than gambling establishments. In fact, no more than 3% of their total areas can be used for gambling activities. Over the years, this strategy has resulted in addiction rates in Singapore remaining low and staying “stable” compared to other casino jurisdictions, and as noted in the recent CRA report “overall probable pathological and problem gambling rates” are currently less than 1 percent.

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$2 Billion in Tax Revenue

Singapore’s thriving casino market generated an impressive $1.99 billion in tax revenue for the state during the latest fiscal year. Nevertheless, that figure was the same as during the previous year, mostly due to VIP gamblers increasingly choosing to visit casinos in other emerging casino markets, such as South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Cambodia. In the Philippines, for instance, its casino market has almost tripled over the past few years, growing from just $1 billion in 2012 to $2.92 billion in 2017, also up by 13.8% year-on-year.

That said, Singapore’s casino industry continues to be a lucrative source of revenue for the country, as well as an attractive draw for tourism. In 2017, around 17.4 million tourists visited Singapore, accounting for 4% of its GDP, while the businesses themselves currently offer employment to more than 20,000 people.

From the outset, however, Singapore was keen to make its casinos attractive to foreign tourists, whilst shielding its own citizens as much as possible from any adverse effects associated with gambling. Overseas tourists and local residents, for instance, have to enter Singapore’s casinos via separate entrances, and while the former group can enter for free, locals have to fork out an exorbitant US$70 entrance fee, rising to US$1,381 for an annual pass.

In 2017, Resorts World Sentosa reported a massive 78% revenue increase to SG$685.6 million, with the company stating that instead of gambling the revenue increase was mostly due to “the stronger underlying performance of the leisure and hospitality segment as a result of higher business volume.”

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