Singapore casino exclusion orders rise

singapore-casino-self-exclusion-ordersThe number of individuals excluded from entering Singapore’s two casinos rose 15% in 2015.

According to the city-state’s National Council on Problem Gambling, 2015 closed with 277,500 active cases of individuals who weren’t allowed into either Las Vegas Sands’ Marina Bay Sands or Genting’s Resorts World Sentosa.

Around 233,500 (84%) of these cases are individuals who have submitted their own names for exclusion. The vast majority (215,000) were foreign nationals who either work in or routinely travel to Singapore. Nearly 1,100 individuals voluntarily filed to limit the number of times per month they can visit casinos, 63% more than exercised this option in 2014.

Singapore allows relatives of problem gamblers to file applications to exclude their loved ones from the two casinos but these cases represented less than 1% of the total cases at the end of 2015.

The remaining 42k excluded individuals were placed there at the government’s request. These individuals are either receiving financial assistance from the government, live in a state-subsidized apartment and are six months or more behind in their rent, or have declared bankruptcy.

Penalties for violating a government-imposed exclusion can be painful, as a 53-year-old Singapore resident found out this week. Wee Hai Heng, an undischarged bankrupt, was sentenced to six weeks in jail for using another man’s identity card to gain entry to a casino.

The court heard that Wee, who declared bankruptcy in 2012, found another man’s Singapore ID card at his workplace the following year. Wee kept the card and used it to gain access to Resorts World Sentosa, but his luck ran out after casino staff noticed Wee wasn’t the man in the photo.

Wee could have faced up to three years in prison as well as a $10k fine. Prosecutors argued for a sentence of five to six weeks, calling Wee’s crime “more egregious” than someone who breached a self-exclusion order and the judge agreed.