SINGAPORE- In any casino, the odds favour the house. Using its house
edge, Singapore is seeking to maximise economic profits and minimise
social costs with tighter rules and tougher fines for two casino
operators, along with new steps to curb problem gambling.
The wealthy and regimented city-state has enjoyed a windfall of
tourism, jobs and revenue since Las Vegas Sands Corp and Genting
Singapore Plc opened casino complexes in 2010, in part by linking
their licences to how well they develop attractions that are not
related to gambling.
Under that mandate, the two operators have added theme parks, museums,
theatres and hotels, boutiques and restaurants to Singapore's
landscape as the Asian business hub recasts itself as a global city
and oasis for the rich.
Amendments to the Casino Control Act cleared Parliament late last year
and now await formal passage into law, giving the operators of Marina
Bay Sands (MBS) and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) little choice but to
adapt to the new rules - including fines of up to 10 per cent of
gaming revenue - and the costs of compliance.
"It is timely that the legislation be reviewed and further tweaks be
made to ensure that the objectives of setting up the integrated
resorts are achieved," said Yap Wai Ming, a partner at Stamford Law
Corp who tracks casino regulation. "They have already invested
billions of dollars and the casinos are still generating very healthy
profits despite the enforcement actions."
MBS declined to comment on the new rules and a spokeswoman did not
respond to another query about the prospects for its non-gaming