According to the local gaming regulator, Singapore’s casinos saw fewer local gamblers following last year’s 50 percent rise in the rate of the casino entry levy.
Singapore’s Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) published its 2019-20 annual report on its regulation of the two integrated resorts of the city-state this week: Marina Bay Sands of Las Vegas Sands (MBS) and World Sentosa Resorts of Genting Singapore (RWS).
Among the observations made in the study by CRA Chairman Tan Tee How was that the rise in regular and annual entry levies for local residents wishing to gamble at either of the two integrated resorts in April 2019 had pushed the number of locals gambling in casinos from 4% of the adult population in FY19 to 2.7 percent in FY20.
For some time , the number of locals involved in casino gambling has been on the decline and Singapore has an enviable low gambling rate. Despite an improvement in overall gambling participation over the same period , the rate has trended steadily downward following the 2010 launch of the two casinos.
In the most recent year, the CRA distributed S$145k (US$ 106k) in fines against MBS, a nearly tenfold increase from the SG$15k MBS charged the previous year. The overwhelming majority of the fines were specifically connected to the problem of levies, including the failure of the casino to introduce a levy collection scheme and the failure to prohibit 11 locals from entering the gaming floor without paying the levies.
By comparison, for having a single underage customer on its gaming floor, RWS incurred only a single penalty of SG$20k. That compares very favourably with the SG$730k in fines charged by RWS the previous year, although RWS also received a letter of censure for failing to gain the approval of the CRA before any new gaming equipment was rolled out.
The CRA is in the midst of a major regulatory shakeup that will see it combine operations with the other gambling boards of the city-state to create a Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) with control of all land-based and online gaming operations. It is expected that the GRA will arrive sometime next year.
Chairman Tan said last week that three key areas were covered by the regulatory challenges ahead: technology offering expanded access to gambling; the injection of gambling into non-gambling goods (such as loot boxes in video games); and the rise of eSports, with young people increasingly likely to engage in eSports betting.