Casinos: Gamblers lost $5.7b?

Posted by on March 9, 2012 

~by: Leong Sze Hian~

I refer to the Government’s review on the two integrated resorts.

With a total of 273,693 local gamblers visiting the two casinos last year, what may perhaps be a more important statistic to know is how much of the two integrated resorts’ combined annual gaming revenue of $5.7 billion and pre-tax profits of $3.6 billion, were derived from the gambling losses of locals?

How many visits?
Also, how often did the 273,693 locals visit the casinos, that is how many visits did they make in total in the year? 
Decline in gamblers? A worrying sign
The decline in locals visiting the casinos compared to the previous year may not be a good sign, as it may simply mean that some may have lost more than they can afford, and are thus unable to return to the casinos.
We should also not be lulled into a sense of complacency by the National Council on Problem Gambling’s (NCPG) survey which showed a seven percentage-point drop – from 54 per cent to 47 per cent – in the number of people gambling in Singapore after the opening of the two integrated resorts.
More Worrying signs
We should also be alarmed by the following survey findings (“Govt plans more problem-gambling safeguards”, Channel NewsAsia, Feb 23). The proportion of low-income gamblers has gone up from between 0 and 0.8% in 2008 to 2% in 2011. These gamblers earn less than S$2,000 a month but they place an average monthly betting amount of more than S$1,000.
The average monthly betting amount rose from S$176 to S$212, especially for low-income gamblers. While the majority gambled with lower amounts, there was an increase in the number who betted large amounts. This is especially so for the low-income gamblers.
Probable Pathological Gamblers
Probable pathological gamblers (PPGs) betted more frequently.A pathological gambler is someone who cannot resist impulses to gamble.68 per cent of PPGs gambled at least once a week, compared with 43 per cent for all gamblers. PPGs are much more likely than non-PPG gamblers to have poor self-control in gambling. They are likely to bet larger amounts, gamble more frequently and spend more time gambling.
Rein-in casinos
With $5.7 billion of gaming revenues in just one year, how much in total gaming revenues have the integrated resorts collected since they opened?Like the classic folk song, “Blowing in the wind”, how much more must Singaporeans lose, before the casinos are reined in?

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.