Singapore’s government is set to implement its new Casino Visit Limit scheme on June 1 as part of the city-state’s strict social safeguards against the spread of problem gambling. Patrons of Singapore’s two integrated resort casinos already have the option of permanently banning themselves from the premises, and family members can apply to have gambling relatives banned. But as of Saturday, gamblers will be able to choose a middle ground by establishing a fixed cap on the number of visits he/she can make to a casino in any given month.
The scheme, one of the amendments to the Casino Control Act decided on last year, involves three options. A gambler can preset his visit limit between one and eight times per month. As with the exclusion program, family members can also apply to cap a loved one’s visits. Finally, a government committee can study a player’s credit record and work situation to determine whether he’s financially equipped to be at the casino every night. This committee will be appointed by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), which will responsible for monitoring the visit limit program.
Gamblers facing a cap imposed by this committee would be given the opportunity to plead their case. That also applies to cap requests made by family members, giving gamblers a defense in case some vengeful mother-in-law still hasn’t gotten over the fact that a bum like you married her precious daughter. Once imposed, only the NCPG can revoke a cap.
Predictably, some critics say the program doesn’t go far enough. Others fear that limiting access to land-based casinos will only drive gamblers to seek out online betting sites. Family advocate Vincent Ng told MyPaper that online gambling represented “the greatest threat to problem gamblers” due to its accessibility and the lack of regulatory oversight by Singapore gaming authorities. Despite its highly successful introduction of land-based gaming, Singapore has steadfastly refused to follow that up with online play. Pity.