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Two bloggers take issue with the broadcaster's censorship.

Piecemeal statistics to hide the true impact of casinos in Singapore?

By Leong Sze Hian

I refer to the article “Fewer locals visit the casinos; only 7.7 per cent made more than one visit in past 3 years” (Straits Times, Sep 26).

Only 7.7% of locals visited casinos more than once?

The article states that only 7.7 per cent of locals here made more than one visit to the two casinos here in the past three years, said the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) on Wednesday which was made public for the first time in CRA’s latest annual report.

CRA however did not give a further breakdown on the number of times this group of locals made to the casinos and said that the vast majority of the remaining 92.3 per cent did not visit the casinos at all.

The article further states that the locals had made a daily average of 17,000 visits last year, down from 20,000 visits when the casinos first opened in 2010 which CRA attributed the drop in the number of casino visits to the effectiveness of its safeguards in deterring vulnerable individuals from problem gambling.

Only 1 page of narrative statistics?

I believe the last time that questions were asked in Parliament, we never got a straight answer, And now, the CRA’s annual report which has 60 pages only contains one page of narrative on casino statistics (that I can find) – which is reproduced below.

cra_annualreport2013

6.2 million visits a year?

17,000 average daily casino visits by locals multiplied by 365 days is about 6.2 million visits in a year.

Isn’t this an alarming figure?

Since this was described as better than the 20,000 daily visits previously, does it mean that we had a whopping 7.3 million visits in a year previously?

20 million local visits?

Does it mean that the first three years of the casinos attracted about 20 million local visits?

Since the 7.7 per cent figure estimated above is for those who visited more than once, what is the statistic for those who visited just once only? Why only reveal piecemeal statistics?

$5 billion gaming revenue a year?

As I understand that gaming revenues in a year are over $5 billion – how much of this are gaming losses from locals?

No breakdown of statistics?

Why is there no breakdown of the statistics (which the journalist of the subject news report also asked) into different segments such as,

  • How many annual levies, daily levies;
  • How many visited 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 or more times;
  • How many local and foreigners’ exclusion orders
  • The numbers of those automatically excluded by virtue of their situation (e.g. bankrupts, certain  civil service occupations, etc),
  • How many called the hotline to seek help, report concerns or assistance enquiries, etc?

Annual levies – hardcore gamblers?

With $174 million levies in a year – does it mean that there may be quite a lot of locals on annual levies who make a lot of visits who might possibly be hardcore gamblers?

In this connection, even if we assume that all were daily levies – $174 million works out to only 1.74 million visits against the six million visits in a year.

“Responsible gambling” measures cause visits’ decline?

Instead of just attributing the decline in visits to “responsible gambling” measures, perhaps the other obvious which is not mentioned,  may be that some may have lost so much that they don’t have much money left to go to the casinos anymore.

150,000 visit the casinos?

As I understand that the working local population age 21 and above, is about two million – does 7.7 per cent mean that about 154,000 visit the casinos more than once?

150,000 families affected by casino gambling?

As I understand that there are about one million local families in Singapore – does it mean that as much as 15 per cent of families may be affected by having a family member who gambles? And we are not counting those who visited the casino just once, because we don’t know how many there were.

So how many people in exact are affected by gambling?

If we assume that four family and extended family members are generally affected – the number of affected persons may be around 600,000.

But let's no forget that other extended families and family members, such as parents, siblings, in-laws, etc, may also be affected. So, the number families and persons affected by gambling may be much higher.

And aren’t you surprised that one out of every 100 crimes in Singapore were committed in connection with the casinos – although it has dropped to 0.7 per cent now? What about casino related crimes or crimes motivated by casino gambling losses, in addtion to “crime reported at both casinos”? Was it more than one per cent? (Note: Overall crime – number of cases reported in Singapore in 2012 was 31,015)