How Singapore runs a casino: bump not nudge

To discourage locals from gambling, the government collects casino entrance fees — $70 for a 24-hour period or $1,400 for a year — from all Singaporeans and permanent residents.  Almost 30,000 people, mostly recipients of public assistance or those who have filed for bankruptcy, are automatically barred from entering.

The casinos, of course, are intended for foreign tourists.  Reversing his earlier position, Mr. Lee finally backed casino gambling, saying it was vital to Singapore's future.  He said rejecting casino gambling would send the message that:

…we want to stay put, to remain the same old Singapore, a neat place and tidy place with no chewing gum.

That's from the 4 June 2010 IHT, I can't find it on-line, at least not yet.

Comments

Or, they could just allow chewing gum.

The chewing gum ban will not be lifted until the Singapore government feels that it will not be seen as yielding to Western 'liberal' pressures if it does so. Because the ban is so well-known, there are larger signaling issues involved here, and the local government deeply believes in signaling.

Like Michael Fay, the ban is no longer about chewing gum but about the government desiring to send a message that it does what it wants and isn't controlled by 'liberal' pressure groups, especially foreign pressure groups. If the only resistance had come from Wrigley's and dentists, Singapore would probably have worked something out. Likewise, without a media blitz, Michael Fay would probably have been quietly deported with some discussion behind closed doors; this was how previous incidents had been dealt with. But once the issue became framed as contesting the notion of the nanny state, a show of strength was needed: it would be a nanny if it wants to and it does not need anyone's permission.

I think the freedom to smoke should feature somewhere in this consideration.

So you did cave.

You are lucky we didn't come bring the democracy on your ass.

@jessica wong

I am quite familiar with Singapore, thank you. The ban was indeed put into place over litter; but it was kept to defend the image of the state. Singapore typically yields easily to US and MNC pressure, so in this case the keeping of the ban was authentically unusual. And the import and sale of non-medicinal gums are still illegal in Singapore; the ban has not been lifted.

And, yes, they still really do arrest people who attempt to smuggle in whole boxloads of chewing gum. The nature of the porous border with Malaysia means that smaller amounts of gum and cigarettes and alcohol all find their way across the border, buried in pockets or under car seats, but the ICA has never cared about searching for amounts that size. Sixty thousand cars cross the border each day! So of course people can acquire gum if they really want to. But the gum consumed today is miniscule compared to what existed before the ban, even with the FTA agreement.

[Chewing gum] gives you gas and makes you fart

"Um, I think you're chewing it wrong... And I'm not even sure how that's possible."

No wonder they banned it. Maybe allowing it really is a bigger civil liberty move than I thought, which also might explain why gum litter was such a big deal.

The casino arrangement is almost like saying hey it's fine if the foreigners get addicted to gambling, so long it's not Singaporeans. I wonder if visitors to Singapore ever think of it that way.

From what I know, this is a duplicate of South Korea's policy. Except in Korea, there is only one casino residents are allowed to gamble at (called High 1)... but I hear a new casino is planned to be launched on Jeju Island in the near future.

"The laws vary for foreigners and Korean citizens. As it stands at the moment the Special Act on the Assistance to the Development of Abandoned Mine Areas allows the running of the only land based casino in Korea that Korean citizens may enter. It is located in Gangwon province, in an abandoned mining district, the remote countryside helping to further restrict access for Koreans.

For non-Korean citizens the Tourism Promotion Act offers permission for hotels to operate casinos that only foreign nationals are allowed to enter. Such casinos are currently running in Seoul, Incheon, Jeju Island and are heavily supervised by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism."

From here: http://www.articlesbase.com/law-articles/is-gambling-illegal-in-south-korea-1097050.html

The High 1 casino in Gangwon province is right next to a large ski resort... not really deserted. From my personal experience, during ski season, there were lines 3 people deep for each table (I never got a seat), and it took 15 minutes just to find 2 consecutive empty seats at the slot machines. There were 2 large, rectangular, glass rooms in the casino where smoking was allowed; Inside, people were packed shoulder to shoulder puffing away.

There were also areas with free soft drinks and coffee.

Korea and Singapore are being smart about gambling. Make it just convenient enough for the hard-core locals to gamble without going to the black-market, but restrictive enough on the marginal locals so they don't bother, while barring people who can't afford to lose money from participating. That's good government.

people normally play games in casino to entertain their selves

In these days,people normally play games in casino to entertain their selves. It is also a good way for government to earn some money through entry fee. But I think it should be a little bit reasonable so that people can go there just for the sake of enjoyment.

I think you should wonder wether the whole Asian society is capable of contoling their gambling habits. Maybe the adminstation of Singapore is right...............

great article !

I don't understand why the government want to discorage local.....

thanks for this tips

Great article

Singapore typically yields easily to US and MNC pressure, so in this case the keeping of the ban was authentically unusual. And the import and sale of non-medicinal gums are still illegal in Singapore

Such casinos are currently running in Seoul, Incheon, Jeju Island and are heavily supervised by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism

No wonder they banned it. Maybe allowing it really is a bigger civil liberty move than I thought, which also might explain why gum litter was such a big deal.

For non-Korean citizens the Tourism Promotion Act offers permission for hotels to operate casinos that only foreign nationals are allowed to enter. Such casinos are currently running in Seoul, Incheon, Jeju Island and are heavily supervised by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism."

Article very interesting, thanks.

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you should wonder wether the Asian society is capable a take a control all the gambling

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The casino arrangement is almost like saying hey it's fine if the foreigners get addicted to gambling, so long it's not Singaporeans. I wonder if visitors to Singapore ever think of it that way.... Regards,

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