Singapore’s cash cow casinos attracting unwanted attention from regulators

TAGs: Marina Bay Sands, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore

Singapore-Cash-CasinosSingapore’s Marina Bay Sands is earning its parent company some $4.6M in daily gross gaming revenue, so nobody wants to turn off that tap. But Marina Bay and Singapore’s other flash palace, Resorts World Sentosa, are coming under some unwanted scrutiny by the island nation’s Casino Regulatory Authority.

When Singapore decided to end its 40-year ban on casinos, it did so with the understanding that any new gambling houses would target a tourist clientele, not the local citizenry, which is why a levy of 100 Singapore dollars ($76 US) was charged at the gates. But now, with an estimated 1M visits having been made by local residents, concerns are being voiced that the casino operators aren’t living up to their end of the bargain.

Regulators have ordered the two casinos to stop running free shuttle bus service to and from residential neighborhoods. Resorts World has also been told to stop promoting its rewards program in the nation’s heartland. There have been reports of gamblers using borrowed I.D. cards, and that guy who lost $18M in a single sitting didn’t help the casinos’ image.

However, there are anecdotal reports that as the novelty wears off, the locals are going back about their business and leaving the casino action to the tourists. And like a middle-aged fat guy who had a mild heart attack, the casinos aren’t likely to indulge in any risky behavior going forward, at least none that would further irritate their hosts. Never let your short-term greed get in the way of your long-term greed, as they say.


views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of