Published: 06 May 2019
Mr Alex Yam Ziming: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) how much casino entry fees have been collected from Singapore citizens and permanent residents since the fees were introduced; (b) how effective have the entry fees been in deterring problem gambling; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider doing away with the annual entry fee to further discourage compulsive gamblers.
1. Since 2010, the total amount of entry levies collected is around $1.3 billion.The proceeds are channelled to Tote Board, which funds social and community programmes that benefit the public.
2. The daily and annual entry levies serve to deter casual and impulse gambling by locals and are part of a holistic suite of social safeguards. Between 2010 and 2018, the number of local visitors to the casinos declined by 50 percent. Based on the most recent gambling participation survey conducted by the National Council on Problem Gambling, the probable problem and pathological gambling rate decreased from 2.6 percent in 2011 to 0.9 percent in 2017.
3. On the Member’s question whether we should do away with the annual entry levy, we considered this carefully and think that they can remain for now. The data is quite clear - annual entry levy holders tend to have higher incomes. For these affluent individuals who want to visit the casinos more often, such as Premium Players, the annual entry levy provides convenience.
4. Keep in mind that the levies are not our only measures of deterrence. We have also put in place social safeguards targeting individuals who are at risk of problem gambling. Frequent visitors to the casinos are identified by the National Council on Problem Gambling. If they are assessed to be financially vulnerable, a visit limit or exclusion order will be imposed on them.