Friday, September 10, 2010
Broken promises of Casino?
I have wanted to write about this issue earlier but couldn't get the appropriate "evidence" in time. But it seems that the PAP has taken a step faster than me this time round.
When PAP decided to build these two Casino Resorts (yes, I refuse to fool my readers on the true nature of these resorts by calling them "Integrated Resorts"), they have declared openly that these Casino Reports' primary targets are foreigners/tourists.
However, it seems that Casino operators do not agree with the government at all. This brochure from Resort World is distributed ALL ROUND ISLAND. It provides shuttle bus schedules which covers North South East West and Central.
If we take a good look inside this brochure, we will find a total of 19 pick up points all over Singapore being served by this FREE SHUTTLE BUS service. There are two full pages of DETAILED schedule:
Some may think that there is nothing wrong for Resort World to provide free shuttle service for Singaporeans who want to visit the Universal Studio. But wait, take a closer look at the time scheduled. On normal weekdays, the last bus leaving from most "terminal" bus stop is at 10pm while returning shuttle bus service also ends at about 10pm. However, during week days, the Universal Studio closes at 7pm!
During weekends or public holidays, the timing is even more absurd: last shuttle bus ends at 12am in some places while others ends after 2am! So who do these FREE SHUTTLE BUSES serve? Apparently, only the Casino operates 24 hours!
The above are all documented evidences I have gathered. Marina Sands also provides Free Shuttle Service but I do not have the details. But Sands has the advantage of situated right next to the MRT station.
It is obvious that the Free Shuttle Bus service is aimed at local Casino patrons. Resort World seems to take the fastest step to "rectify" the situation by declaring that all Free Shuttle Bus service to the heartlands will stop with immediate effect. Is this a sign of self confession even before MCYS completes its "investigation"?
Well, does the fault lies only on the Casino operator?
It is unimaginable that the authority didn't know about all these scheduled free shuttle bus services at all. First of all, license needs to be issued to these buses to ferry the public. To run such scheduled service round island at different intervals, it will need at least 10 buses for these 5 zones. Did LTA know about such service?
The Free Shuttle Bus service has been running for quite a few months. (I first heard about it in May.) Brochures have been distributed island wide. There is even signboard tied on lamp posts at the respective pick up point!
Photo from Channel News Asia Website
How could such an extensive operations escape the ears and eyes of this government? It actually takes months to react to it?
I am not too sure how the new law created specially for governing Casino operators say about those operators who breach rules on marketing the Casino to local patrons. But I think it is important for the PAP to keep up to its words that these two Casino Resorts are marketing aggressively to local population.
This Free Shuttle Bus service is just the tip of the iceberg. I was told that personalized letters to individuals have been sent to market the Casino. I was even told that credit card holders or some VIPs were given special privileges for visiting the Casino. Are they allowed to do all these local marketing?
Casino gambling is a vice, no matter what. While we ban advertising for things like cigarettes, why should such vice be allowed to be marketed to the people? Besides, PAP has reiterated that such Casino Resorts are meant for Foreigners and Tourists but it seems that this is not the case at all!
I am a staunch Anti-Casino person. I have delivered a speech back in 5 March 2005 to reason why Casino is bad for Singapore. The PAP has claimed that the successful casino in the world has 80% foreign patrons with only 20% local gamblers. But in Singapore, we have seen that the gamblers in casino here consists of 60% of local gamblers! But yet, they are still marketing the casino to local population!
Apparently, the Casinos have broken their promise of focusing on foreign gamblers. They are not keeping to their own term of success, attracting 80% of foreigners but instead, concentrating on marketing to local population!
The other area of problem is the huge amount of credits that the casino operators could grant to its patrons. We just realize that one Singapore businessman has lost $26milloin to the Casino. This is mainly because the Casino is all willing to grant credit to this man, almost unlimited credit.
I was told that as long as you could put up a $50k deposits, you could possibly get credit terms from the Casino!
My question is this, do Casino operators have any finance license to grant such big loans to its patrons? Are the present laws adequate to cope with such extensive loans or credits given by the Casinos? If Casino is allowed to grant such huge amount of loans/credits to its patrons, then it is apparent that it will become a big money lender as well! Shouldn't it be made to abide to existing finance law?
Most importantly, will PAP do something about it?
Goh Meng Seng