Gambling reaches record high, but 151st media said … ?

Photo: Rinto Jiang/CC BY-SA 3.0Photo: Rinto Jiang/CC BY-SA 3.0

Has gambling hit a record high in Singapore?

I refer to the article “Casino levies fall to lowest level since 2010” (Straits Times, Nov 24).

It states that “Casino levies paid by Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) here are at their lowest level since the casinos at Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands were opened in 2010.

The Singapore Totalisator Board (Tote Board) collected $134 million in casino entry levies in its last financial year, which ended in March this year – down 21 per cent from the $170 million collected in the 2012/2013 financial year (FY).

The sums collected for the past five financial years were listed in the Tote Board’s latest annual report, which was released yesterday.

Singaporeans and PRs have to pay a $100 daily levy or $2,000 annual levy to enter a casino here.

Also out of favour with punters: Horse racing, where turnover fell from $1.6 billion in FY2012/2013 to $1.2 billion in FY2016/2017.

But the lure of 4D, Toto and soccer betting is growing steadily, with $7.2 billion spent on lotteries and sports betting in the last financial year, 15 per cent more than the $6.2 billion in FY2012/2013.

According to the above table – Total Turnover has increased by 7.7 per cent in the last five years, from 7.8 to 8.4 billion.

Is this an all-time high?

So, arguably – isn’t this much more significant than “casino levies decreasing”?

Perhaps the title of the subject news story should be “Gambling reaches record high of $8.4b”, instead of “Casino levies fall to lowest level since 2010“?

In this connection, according to the article “Profit rebound for MBS in 3rd quarter” (Straits Times, Nov 5, 2016) – “MBS’ mass table revenue, which accounted for 38 per cent of the total gaming turnover, fell 8.1 per cent to US$985 million.

But slot machines, which have a greater patronisation rate by local players than mass or VIP tables, fared slightly better. Slots, which accounted for around 20 per cent of the total gaming revenue, gained 1.4 per cent to US$3.46 billion in the third quarter.”

S$3.3b gaming revenue?

So, looking at these numbers – does it mean that the gaming revenue (Las Vegas Sands corporation’s annual report) in a year is about US$2.3 (S$3.29) billion?

RWS (Genting): S$1.75 gaming revenue? 

According to Genting Singapore’s 2015 annual report – its revenue from gaming operations was S$1.75 billion.

2 casinos S$5b gaming revenue?

So, does it mean that the combined gaming revenue of the two casinos is about S$5 billion (S$3.29 + S$1.75) a year?

How much lost by residents?

How much of this money is money lost by locals (Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs)) and the 1.4 million foreign workers in Singapore?

As to “Counsellors who work with gambling addicts said fewer Singaporeans and PRs are going to the casinos here as they are put off by the need to pay an entry levy, and opting for alternatives instead: Illegal online casinos where gamblers can bet on credit, unlike in the casinos here, where they have to fork out cash upfront to bet.

Besides, those who have lost all their money are likely to have barred themselves or have been banned from the casinos here by their families,

It was previously reported that Singaporeans and PRs made an average of 17,000 visits a day in 2012, down from 20,000 visits in 2010 when the casinos first opened.

This is one of the few pieces of publicly available information on the number of local visitors, and is based on data contained in the 2013 Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore annual report.

The sums wagered on lotteries and sports, such as soccer and motor racing, continue to climb. This has been rising each year in the Tote Board’s past five financial years.

Counsellors said that the sums wagered at the legal outlets are but a fraction of the sums spent on illegal gambling. Many of the gambling addicts they see place illegal bets online” –

S’poreans are world’s biggest gamblers

according to the article “Small country, large stakes: S’poreans are world’s biggest gamblers” (The New Paper, May 26, 2015) – “While the national average spent by local gamblers last year is much lower at US$1,019 (S$1,361), it was enough for La Fleur’s Magazine, which reports on the US$262 billion global lottery industry, to name Singaporeans as the biggest lottery spenders.

1.5 times that of the 2nd ranked

That figure is close to 1.5 times that of the second-ranked Massachusetts State Lottery, where the average spent last year was US$730.

Leong Sze Hian

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About the Author

Leong
Leong Sze Hian has served as 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), invited to speak more than 200 times in over 30 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of Indonesia and Brunei. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.