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

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was not so anti-casino in Singapore. Ever since an incident happened within my social circle, my view has changed, 180 degrees.

One of my close friend, lets call him Eugene, used to be a hardworking chap, look after the family, played with his two kids, enjoyed 天伦之乐.

No so much anymore a month after the casino opened in Singapore. His new addiction is to 'rush' to the casino at Marina when he has the free time. Sometime he created "free time" just to cure his itch. Quarrels with family members has increased in frequency over his self-justified 'small harmless gaming' habit.

As he is a good friend for many many years, I am watching how he 'progresses' with his new venture. I have told him off many times but each time the risk of losing this long time friendship increases with each kaypoh wake up call from me.

I can see in a short time, his family will disintegrate if he continues with this 'small harmless gaming' habit.

At times when he lost some 'small amount' of money, he will lament that the casino is location so conveniently in Singapore. The entry levy of $100 is absolutely a non-deterrent for many a people like him because it is 'easy to recover the levy'.

From him, I have also come to learn that the levy has a validity of 24 hours. If you enter the casino in the afternoon, you can still enter the casino the next day as long as it is within 24 hours from the last entry.

I am sure there are more people like him. The social problems are snowballing now...

Dreadful isn't it?

I can only hope for the best for his family, especially his two kids.

Winston

Aurvandil said...

The casinos have been failing to comply with key requirements of the Casino Control Act. The following is an example with regard to the display of odds. This is especially important for slot machines where the casinos can "tweak" the odds to milk unsuspecting gamblers of more money.


S'pore casinos should display odds of winning

http://www.asiaone.com/News/AsiaOne%...02-235120.html

YOU would probably have heard about the businessman here who lost over $26 million in three days of gambling at the casino in Resorts World Sentosa in June.

If the casinos play fairly, it would seem that he has no cause for complaint. But do they? Do the casinos follow the rules?

It is not well known, but the 1995 casino-bidding specifications state that "information on the rules of games and odds of winning must be displayed".


This is part of the Request for Concept's "Key Conditions and Requirements", under which casinos here agreed to operate.

The rule was carried forward to Section 106-1-b-(i) of the Casino Control Act, and requires casinos to "display prominently in the casino the advice or information concerning those rules, the mode of payment of winning wagers and the odds of winning each wager".


This would make our casinos the most transparent in the world. Atlantic City in the United States has a similar rule, but casinos there sidestep it by disclosing the odds in a way that is hard to understand.

The simplest method for disclosure is by revealing the "house advantage". This is the percentage chance that a casino has of winning, and is how casinos talk about the odds internally.

For example, roulette with a double zero has a 5.3 per cent house advantage. This means that, for every $100 bet that is made, the house takes an average of $5.30 and pays out $94.70.

This also means that the gambler pays $100 to get $94.70 back, which is a bad deal - as are all casino games.

It gets worse when the rate of play is taken into consideration.

For roulette, it is one spin of the wheel every two minutes.

So after one hour, a player can be expected to lose 80 per cent of his average bet. This is calculated as 0.947 raised to the power of 30, which equals 0.1952.

Thus, a gambler placing $100 wagers would see his money dwindle to $19.52 after an hour of play.

Our casinos would be the first ones anywhere to make this information available to players for all games, including slot machines. The move would increase competition and result in better odds for players.

The only problem is that it has not happened. Casinos have not displayed the odds, as required by Section 106-1-b-(i) of the Casino Control Act.

They should do so soon.

MR LARRY HAVERKAMP

solo bear said...

Linked your article.

Anonymous said...

re casinos not doing what they are supposed to.

neither it would seem are cleaners. increasingly i'v been noticing drains full of leaves, rubbish. quite disturbing as we currently try and battle dengue,
and of course floods.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget also the pubs, sing song halls, nightclubs etc.

There is "No Smoking" stickers everywhere but there is absolutely no enforcement.

This country prides itself with lots of rules so we can have a clean, well managed and organised society. Sad to say, if you do not enforce, it's one big wayang and the chaps you can fool are really only the daft.