A Singapore gambler has added credence to the ironic truth that some people simply can’t win for losing. Ong Seng Kee, a 56-year-old fortune-teller, had lost all the money he’d brought to the Resorts World Sentosa integrated resort, but one of his friends took pity on him and fronted him an extra S$200, which Kee proceeded to turn into S$5k (US $4k) via the casino’s baccarat tables. But as he was gathering up his winnings, Kee suddenly cried for help and collapsed. Kee was taken to hospital, where he later died from as-yet undetermined causes. An unidentified casino official told Bikyamasr.com that “gambling is not for the weak hearts.”
Singapore’s other gaming joint, Marina Bay Sands, recently reported that four out of five visitors now come from outside the city-state’s borders. Compare that to October 2010, when Sands estimated local customers made up 38% of its total foot traffic. The decrease will come as a relief to Singapore’s government, which has enacted measures (such as the S$100 daily entry fee) to prevent the casinos from depending on local gamblers to keep them in the black. Singapore Tourism Board figures for 2011 show that international arrivals rose to 13.2m and Indonesia was the biggest contributor to this foreign influx, with some 2.6m Indonesians making the trek to Singapore last year. Arrivals from China rose 35% in 2011, good enough for second on Singapore’s international visitor list, followed by Malaysia and Australia.
Despite initial concerns, Singapore police now say that casino-related crime has not been a significant problem in the integrated resorts’ first two years of operation. Director of public affairs Ng Guat Ting said criminal cases related to the casinos are “mostly petty crime cases, not organized… We are closely monitoring casino crimes and so far we can say that the situation there is well under control.” In fact, the 282 cases reported in 2011 were less than the 299 recorded in 2010.
We’re not sure if this next case technically falls under the category of casino crime. A 46-year-old Singapore man is in trouble with local police after he made a false police report that he’d been robbed of S4k (US $3.2k). The man claimed to have been relieved of this substantial sum at knifepoint, but an investigation concluded the man had lost the money gambling and had concocted the melodramatic tale to avoid having his mother discover the real cause of his depleted bank account. Seriously, when a 46-year-old man is scared of his mother, we hope the judge sentences him to grow a pair.