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It has been several months since the much-touted casinos opened in Singapore. In reality, both these casinos are part of far larger integrated resorts (IRs), Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Sands, which are huge complexes filled with hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and numerous other tourist attractions. However, it is the casinos that have been the most prominent and controversial parts of the IRs.

The casinos represent a turn-around in Singapore’s long-established position that discourages any gambling activity. In Singapore, betting on horse races and lotteries are very tightly regulated. Hence, the approval of the casinos rose more than just a few eyebrows. Although it is still too early to say for certain, social commentators have predicted a rise in problem gambling linked to the opening of the casinos. This is in spite of the extensive measures the government has put in place to combat this social ill. On another front, economic analysts foresee an uphill battle for the IRs to recoup their investments.