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Higher Stakes: Crunching the Numbers at CRA
How CRA applies data analytics in order to gain new insights into casino operations and make better policy and operational decisions.

Home Team News CRA Constance Loo 1
PHOTO: Jermaine Ting

Constance Loo chose to join the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) because its mission resonated with her. Just as importantly, she knew that she’d get to use her knowledge and skills to make a difference.

“I like to work with numbers and statistics,” explains Constance. 

Constance joined CRA as an Assistant Manager with the Gaming Technology Division in 2013. There, she was able to put her statistical knowledge to good use by evaluating Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs) and gaming equipment such as card shufflers and dice tumblers.

Meeting the Standard

The casino industry in Singapore is subject to strict regulatory measures, and all EGMs are required to be approved by CRA before they can be deployed in a casino.

What determines if an EGM is approved by CRA?

According to Constance, there are a number of crucial considerations. “CRA develops and maintains the technical standards for EGMs, gaming equipment and casino systems, as well as we also evaluate these products to ensure that they comply with our technical standards,” she explains. 

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Technical skills and more: Analysing the calculations behind EGM payouts is an important part of evaluating EGMs. PHOTO: Jermaine Ting

Before EGMs can be deployed, they must undergo a series of rigorous reviews at an independent, CRA-approved test lab. Constance and her team work closely with these labs to ensure that test processes and standards are adhered to. “We’ll communicate with the lab technicians, assess their methods and review the data,” she shared. “This way, we act as a check on the testing done by the labs.”

Encouraging Responsible Gambling
Asked about common misconceptions that players have about casinos in Singapore, Constance notes that some players think they can hit the jackpot if they only play long enough at a machine. “This is untrue,” she says.

Such misconceptions can contribute to problem gambling. To counter this, Constance took on an assignment with her fellow CRA officers to propose responsible gambling measures that could be incorporated into EGMs.

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Shared purpose: Constance (third from left) with other Five-Year Commitment Recognition Award recipients from CRA. The officers were recognised for their contributions at CRA's Workplan Seminar in May 2019. PHOTO: CRA

One of the team’s recommendations was to include time displays in EGMs. These help players to be more aware of how much time they’ve spent on an EGM, thereby sending the subtle message that the time they’ve spent on it doesn’t correspond to their winnings (if any).

Another recommendation was the prohibition of auto-play features in EGMs. Instead, players must make a conscious decision to press the play button to activate each game, and this ensures that they’re aware of each bet they place.

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Making better decisions: By analysing data, Constance and her team gain fresh insights into different aspects of casino operations and can make better decisions. PHOTO: Jermaine Ting

The Data Analytics Edge
In 2019, Constance moved to CRA’s Data Analytics Unit. Established in June 2018, the Unit seeks to build CRA’s capabilities in collecting, processing, integrating and analysing data, in order to gain richer insights into casino operations and make better policy and operational decisions.

Data analytics helps CRA officers be more effective in their work. For example, by applying data analytics to the daily performance of an EGM, officers can identify and flag potential anomalies for further investigation. “This is a more targeted and efficient approach that allows us to better safeguard the integrity of the EGMs,” explains Constance.

Asked what she’s enjoyed about her six years with CRA, Constance noted the teamwork between fellow officers: “We’re bonded by a passion for numbers and share a common purpose – to protect and make a difference to the lives of Singaporeans.”
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.

  1. by Ashley Tuen
  2. 23 March 2020
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