Singapore’s Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) imposed for financial year ended March 31 an aggregate of SGD745,000 (US$540,000) in fines on the city-state’s duopoly casino industry for breaches of the Casino Control Act. That is according to the CRA’s annual report for 2018-19, recently published.
The tally of fines was a big jump from the SGD60,000 in such penalties imposed in financial year 2017-18. The increase was mostly due to fines in relation to two topics – amounting to an aggregate SGD650,000 – imposed on the operator of the Resorts World Sentosa casino resort.
Singapore has two casino complexes: Resorts World Sentosa, operated by Resorts World at Sentosa Pte Ltd, a unit of Genting Singapore Ltd; and Marina Bay Sands, operated by Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd, a unit of United States-based Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Resorts World at Sentosa Pte was fined SGD400,000 in financial year 2018-19 for “failure to implement a system of internal controls” approved by the CRA, according to the regulator’s website. In addition, the casino firm was fined SGD250,000 for “failure to comply with a direction that relates to the conduct, supervision or control of casino operations.”
Resorts World at Sentosa Pte was also fined SGD80,000 for failure to prevent five minors gaining access to the casino floor during financial year 2018-19. In Singapore, all patrons must be aged 21 or over in order to gamble legally in its casinos.
In financial year 2018-19, Marina Bay Sands Pte was fined SGD10,000 for failure to prevent one minor gaining access to the casino floor. The firm was additionally fined SGD5,000 for failure to prevent one permanent resident from entering or remaining on its casino premises “without a valid entry levy”.
“The casino operators have since made improvements to their work processes and stepped up measures to enhance their compliance towards the regulatory requirements,” noted Teo Chun Ching, the regulator’s chief executive, in commentary in the 2018-19 report.
Singapore requires – among other things – that its casino operators charge Singapore citizens and permanent residents a levy for either per-24-hour access or annual access to the respective gaming floors of the properties. In April the daily levy was raised to SGD150, and the annual one to SGD3,000.
The CRA’s chairman, Tan Tee How, observed in his commentary in the 2018-19 report, that the two casino resorts had “introduced facial recognition and biometric technologies to enhance security checks for patrons and controls for gaming equipment”.
Mr Tan also noted in the annual report that the authority had set up what he termed a “Data Analytics Unit” to allow the CRA to “extract greater value from our data, to aid policy reviews and enhance decision-making”.
He added another example of the adoption of digital technology was the “redesigning of the work processes to automate and transform the licensing and suitability investigation of special employees and natural person associates”.
He added: “It not only utilises artificial intelligence to entrench risk management in the licensing process; it also increases the productivity of our officers who will be able to focus on higher-value work.”
The chairman also mentioned the city-state’s hosting in August of the 5th Singapore Symposium on Gambling Regulation and Crime. The speakers included senior officials from the casino regulatory agencies in the world’s top-three gaming jurisdictions by gross gaming revenue: Macau, Singapore and Nevada in the United States.
The CRA “continues to recognise the importance of establishing strong ties and networks beyond our borders,” in order to maintain effective regulation of gambling and to fight gaming-related crime, stated Mr Tan.
The chairman additionally noted that regionally, the casino sector was a “competitive” environment, “with more than 15 integrated resort projects to be developed across Asia-Pacific by 2025″, and that the two Singapore operators had collectively pledged to the city-state to invest around SGD9 billion to “refresh their offerings”.
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Paulo Martins Chan
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