Singapore on Steroids (Summary)
SINGAPORE- Singapore’s government had taken up an ambitious move in 2005, announcing the plan to construct two integrated resorts in Marina Bay and Sentosa. In a bid to attract tourists and high-rollers, the government pumped the tourism industry with steroids, definitely shortening the lifespan despite its gargantuan image.
The government’s successes were certainly true to the policy’s motives, and the number of tourists who visited Singapore in the recent months have exceeded the 1 million mark and 35,000 jobs have been created directly or indirectly by the opening of the IRs. Singapore hotels reported an average occupancy rate of 85% in May, up 17% from 68% a year earlier, pushing the average room rate up by 13.4% from a year ago to S$209 a night.
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Resort World Sentosa alone recorded revenues of S$860.8 million for the second quarter of the year, with Universal Studio Singapore reporting a maximum daily capacity of 8,000 and an average visitor spend of S$84. Analysts estimate that the IRs will contribute 5 to 8% of the economy and Las Vegas Sands said last week its $5.5 billion Singapore casino has exceeded forecasts since opening in April and could draw up to 150,000 visitors a day once operations are in full swing. All of the above data clearly shows that Singapore have been earning much revenue from the opening of the IRs and the large influx of tourists which resulted. The IRs have also create more jobs for the people of Singapore and this will reduce the number of unemployed Singaporeans.

However at what cost has job and economic growth come to? At what cost did the government do to achieve an economics end? Several groups, such as those belonging to the Muslim and Christian communities as well as social workers, openly expressed their disapproval of the casinos operating in Singapore. Concerns were raised about the negative social impact of casino gambling, citing worries that the casinos could encourage more gambling and increase the risk of compulsive gambling. Activist groups argued that a casino could also lead to undesirable activities often associated with gambling, including money laundering, loan sharks or even organised crime. Several people had been charged with trying to cheat the house and committing petty crimes such as mobile phone theft and attempting to evade the entry fee. A CEO of Far Ocean seafood company have lost 26 million after going to the IR. While legalized gambling is said to boost economic growth and increase tax revenue, it often causes crime rates to rise. The large amounts of money involved make casinos a desirable target for organized crimes like money laundering to flourish.

There may have been economic merits to the opening of the casino, but the social impact cannot be neglected. Through the construction of the casinos, gaming will reach further to the masses and may even encourage gaming itself as a glamorous activity.A casino could also lead to undesirable activities like money laundering, illegal money lending and organised crime. Although one can try to mitigate these effects, the long term impact on social mores and attitudes is more insidious and harder to prevent.




Singapore’s gaming gamble (Critical Analysis)
SINGAPORE- Singapore’s newly opened Integrated Resorts although expected to usher in tourists in record numbers. Singapore hopes to double visitor arrivals to 17 million by 2015. The IRs in Singapore are expected to create about 35,000 jobs directly and indirectly. The service sector is also expected to have a 12.9 per cent growth year-on-year in the second quarter. Both commenced operation only in 2010 however S$979.3 million was made in the three months to June 30.construction.jpg
Singapore appears to be enjoying a casino-fuelled visitor boom, and tourism has also been seeing positive growth from the casino, with 946,000 people visiting Singapore in May 2010, up from 939,000 in April and 726,000 in May 2009. The city-state welcomed 30.3 percent more visitors in May than the same month a year ago. Singapore hopes to double visitor arrivals to 17 million by 2015, and is counting on mega casino-resorts opened this year by Malaysia’s Genting Bhd and Las Vegas Sands to help drive tourism and economic growth. Hotels are also making a killing, as Singapore hotels reported an average occupancy rate of 85% in May, up 17% from 68% a year earlier, pushing the average room rate up by 13.4 percent from a year ago to S$209 a night.

However, the advent of state-sanctioned gambling brought a rise in social problems such as addiction and crime and within three years, the government closed the gaming houses. Vice rates are bound to increase, despite the various measures put in place by the government. This is because the casino is aiming to target the cash rich mainland Chinese. Unfortunately, most wealthy Chinese rely on “junkets” for their credit and openings for gambling. The junkets would bring with them vice, violence and illegal side-betting that sometimes accompanies the junket business in Macau. The opening of the casino also creates a legal avenue for people to gamble. With so many problems, why would anyone want to open such a place?
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Well, the government of course. They have laid down many new laws to prevent Singaporeans from falling into the spiral of addiction and debt. The government has banned more than 29,000 bankrupts from entering the casino,as well as encouraging the families of gambling addicts to have them excluded.In addition, Singaporeans have to pay a hefty entry fee of S$100 (US$71.28) per day or S$2,000 per annum. The measures put in place seem effective as two-thirds of the visitors to Genting Singapore’s casino in the city-state came from overseas.

Although so many measures have been put into place, already several people have been charged with trying to cheat the house and some petty crimes like mobile phone theft and Singaporeans attempting to evade the entry fee. On the social front, the government has banned more than 29,000 bankrupts and those receiving state benefits from entering the casinos and has tried to convince families of gambling addicts to have them excluded. It has also insisted that Singaporeans pay a hefty entry fee of S$100 (US$71.28) per day or S$2,000 per annum to make them think twice before heading to the baccarat tables or slot machines.

But there have already been a number of casino-related problems, with several people charged with trying to cheat the house and some petty crimes like mobile phone theft and Singaporeans attempting to evade the entry fee.

How exactly can casinos can thrive without leading to an increase in prostitution, addiction and organized crime, the sort of problems that tend to proliferate around gaming houses in Asia? At stake is Singapore's carefully-cultivated international image as a safe and orderly commercial hub and the domestic credibility of a government that clams legitimacy. The debate has reignited a furore, bringing a rare public debate back to the table, where in 2001 tens of thousands signing a petition against the move.

But not to be easily beaten, the casinos marketed as an “Integrated Resort”, where clean and fun entertainment is the main focus, and the government hopes that, in time, the attached hotels, restaurants and theme parks will generate the bulk of the revenue, reducing Singapore's dependence on the pure gambling take. Michael Leven, the chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands, even said that he expects 75 percent of revenue to come from the gaming tables in Marina Bay Sands' first year of operation, and entertainment is clearly far from the list. The government, which has warned that the economy must be radically retooled if it is to achieve solid growth, hopes the revenue from the tax on casino winnings as well as other spending by casino visitors will provide a much-needed lift to its coffers.

The British had tried in 1823 to set up gambling houses and Singapore ushered in a era with emphasis on luck and chance, while the colonial government enacted several social laws. The British had failed, and will Singapore repeat history or alter the contours of history?
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Sources
__http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_564393.html__
__http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20100811-286263/When-casinos-came-to-Singapore__
__http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-12/genting-singapore-swings-to-291-million-profit-on-casino-resort-impact-.html__
__http://www.asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2368&Itemid=233__
__http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/worldview/100512/singapore-casino-tourism-marina-bay__
__http://www.channelnewsasia.com/cna/cgi-bin/search/search_7days.pl?status=&search=Integrated%20Resort&id=1076230__
__http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporebusinessnews/view/1075889/1/.html__
__http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporebusinessnews/view/1074911/1/.html__
__http://www.travelmole.com/stories/1142988.php?mpnlog=1__
__http://www.travelmole.com/stories/1142988.php?mpnlog=1__
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