🔥 Speech on Casino Control (Amendment) Bill – NCMP Gerald Giam – The Workers' Party

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proposed casino operation and that the Northern Cheyenne Tribe would be in debt for long period of time, ” I felt that I needed to expound on my response to the.


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I feel I should point out that you and your companion were very nearly late. “A series of unusual events have occurred during Casino Infernale this year,”.


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It was a dark day for many who felt that we were sacrificing some of our cherished To mitigate this risk, I propose that an Expenditure Limit order be imposed.


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Casino Control Act, namely, the proposed visit limit system, Stakeholders felt strongly that public education efforts should be intensified to.


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gambling and developing a casino on Sentosa, an island south of the Given the controversial and divisive nature of the proposal, some felt.


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According to the casino agreements between the partners, the Florida family funding A new and very dubious precedent is set by the Hudson proposal. that he felt that the Federal Government should 2 not cram a casino down the throat of.


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It redirects problem gamblers to third parties. Now that the casinos are already on our shores, we need to make every effort possible to minimise the many negative social effects caused by them. The CRA recently granted licences to two junkets Ng These two junkets seem to have been approved because they are small operators with limited impact. This brings me to my final point on the Bill. However, foreign workers, including foreign maids, are effectively part of our community, unlike tourists who are here today and gone tomorrow. Would this be a slippery slope down to the situation in Macau, where junkets are responsible for a lot of the loansharking and other organised crime Lo ? I am also concerned that the Visit Limit may be used as a substitute for an Exclusion Order. The NCPG does not provide help directly. This brings me to my next concern about both the Family Exclusion Order and the Family Visit Limit: Are the application procedures too onerous to be useful in practice? To mitigate this risk, I propose that an Expenditure Limit order be imposed together with the Visit Limit. Once the expenditure limit is reached, no more bets may be placed, even if the visit quota for the month has not been reached. Why not outsource these programmes to independent, social service organisations specializing in responsible gambling? These organisations will have an interest in reducing not just problem gambling, but gambling in general. The rationale for casinos targeting tourists, and not locals, is to prevent residents from developing gambling issues and causing problems in their homes and our community. Is there a need for more junket operators to prop up demand? This would encourage more families to apply, and ensure that their relative is immediately prevented from doing more harm to himself and his family. They would be in the best position to gauge whether the respondent has gambling problems which are affecting the family. I took part in feedback forums and even organised a petition to urge the Government not to proceed with the casino. But can casinos really be trusted to run these programmes effectively, when it is neither in their vested interests to do so, nor is it part of their core business?

Let me state categorically that I have always been strongly against having casinos in Singapore — and I have held this view long before I entered politics. They should therefore be discouraged casino proposed felt patronizing the casinos and gambling away our investments.

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Being barred from the casino is not a death sentence. However, I have found that most people are not aware of this self-exclusion facility. Does the CRA have the capacity and capability to regulate an increasingly complex casino business, made more complicated by the junkets? Forgot password? According to a Straits Times report last September, seven in 10 gamblers who sought help in counselling centres for their addiction said the casinos were the main reason for their money woes Tai These include spouses, children, parents, co-workers and employers. Some , Singaporeans visited the casinos in Huang We already have the dubious honour of the second highest gambling losses per capita, according to the Economist magazine We must significantly step up our efforts to stem this rising tide, or risk seeing more and more people falling prey to gambling addiction at the hands of our two casinos. It is no wonder that only family exclusions have been issued as of January this year, compared to 42, self-exclusions, which can be obtained online instantly with a SingPass. I hope that applications will not be easily rejected against the desires of the family members. This poses high entry barriers to family members who may wish to take up an Exclusion Order for their troubled loved ones. It was a dark day for many who felt that we were sacrificing some of our cherished values on the altar of economic growth. The new Section B mandates that the casino operator shall establish and implement a responsible gambling programme. The introduction of casinos seems to have sent a wrong signal that gambling can be glitzy and glamorous, or worse, part and parcel of a total family entertainment package. I am disappointed that this Bill contained no review of the levies, and even more disappointed to discover that Section 4 locks in the current levy amounts for 10 years. The evaluation report will be used by the Government to decide whether or not to renew casino licences. It is now a council of 13 members supported by a secretariat from the Ministry of Social and Family Development. Anecdotally, I know that most hard-core casino gamblers buy the annual pass, rather than the daily pass. This translates to over 98, Singapore residents SingStat , Multiplied by six, which is on the conservative end of the APC estimate, there could be well over half a million people in Singapore who are directly or indirectly affected by problem gambling. Before the Government allowed in casinos seven years ago, I had written several letters to the Government, voicing my strong objections. Our casinos are already among the most profitable in the world. Sir, why is the Evaluation Panel only focused on the economic benefits of the casinos? Most foreign students in our local schools receive large tuition grants from the Ministry of Education; some are here on full scholarships. Gambling, and in particular casino gambling, is a scourge to society. Only if the respondent disputes the Exclusion Order or Visit Limit, would a hearing need to be convened to make an assessment on the appeal, and repeal the order if the application is deemed to be frivolous. Is the Government thinking of opening up the market to more junket operators? This hardly makes a dent on the enormity of this problem. This is inadequate for the implementation of a comprehensive responsible gambling programme. With the data from actual transactions over the past two years, the Government would know how many times each annual entry levy holder has visited the casinos in a year. The NCPG should better publicise these schemes so that people know they exist and are taught how to apply. In conclusion, Mr Speaker, problem gambling is a terrible scourge in any society, cousin to alcoholism and drug abuse. Junkets are essentially casino promoters, tour agents and moneylenders rolled into one. Sir, the NCPG needs to be transformed into a national centre run by professional staff providing research, outreach education, help services, programmes and best practices consultancy all under one roof. Sir, for the Visit Limit applications, will families have to go through this same process? They have a notorious reputation of often being associated with organised crime Lo , which is probably why the Casino Regulatory Authority CRA has moved so tentatively in granting junket licences until now. If the Government is serious about putting in place effective social safeguards against problem gambling, it should do away with the annual levy. They might deem the process too troublesome or intrusive. Currently the entry levy applies only to Singaporeans and PRs. This would provide a more comprehensive report of the impact of the casinos, and enable a more holistic evaluation when assessing the applications for renewal of the casino licences. How many frivolous applications were received by NCPG in the past three years that had to be rejected? May I propose that Family Exclusion and Family Visit Limit applications be provisionally granted immediately upon an application by the family member. How then do we prevent frivolous applications? This sends the wrong message that regular gambling is preferred over occasional gambling. Regrettably, the Government proceeded to issue not just one, but two casino licences, despite strong objections from many Singaporeans. Regardless of the economic benefits the casino may have brought, one ruined life, one bankrupt individual, or one broken family caused by casino gambling is one too many for Singapore. Given that a problem gambler can lose thousands of dollars a day at the casinos, one month may be too long a wait for the order to come into effect. If we introduce the option of a Visit Limit, then there should not be a heavy burden on the family to prove that the respondent is a problem gambler. This will be the focus of the rest of my speech. The Bill introduces the concept of a Visit Limit, which allows individuals, their families or third parties to apply to limit the number of visits to the casinos by a gambler within a given month. If foreign workers patronise the casinos and develop gambling problems, their work performance will suffer and this would affect their co-workers, employers or the families they work for. Secondly, the rare frivolous application can be easily reversed with an appeal by the respondent and a decision by the Committee of Assessors. Remember me. Their gambling problems will therefore affect local families. This is why they should also be subject to the casino entry levy. The Self-Exclusion is a good preventive measure which should be encouraged and promoted. Singaporean taxpayers have made a large investment in them. Self-exclusion should not carry a social stigma of being a problem gambler. Hence, doing away with the annual levies could be a very effective step in combating excessive gambling in our casinos. I would suggest that schools, social service and religious organisations encourage their students and members to apply for self-exclusions, just as some employers do for their foreign workers.