Aggregate fines levied on Singapore’s two gaming resort operators by the city-state’s casino regulator showed a 60.5 percent decline in financial year 2016, compared to the prior-year period.
Meanwhile income from licensing fees charged by the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) on gaming operators showed an increase of 13.9 percent from the prior reporting period, to nearly SGD43.8 million (US$32 million).
The tally of penalties on the two casino operators in fiscal 2016 – covering the 12 months to March 31, 2017 – was SGD165,000, compared to SGD417,500 in fiscal 2015, showed the annual report of the Casino Regulatory Authority for 2016-2017.
In fiscal 2016, Marina Bay Sands Pte Ltd – a unit of Las Vegas Sands Corp that operates the Marina Bay Sands resort – was fined a total of SGD90,000. There was a SGD15,000 penalty for failure to prevent one minor from entering or remaining on its casino premises “without reasonable excuse”, and a further SGD75,000 in fines for failures to implement a system for the collection of the entry levy. Under local law a levy is chargeable to Singapore citizens or permanent residents wishing to enter the casino area of each resort.
Resorts World at Sentosa Pte Ltd, a unit of Genting Singapore Plc that operates the Resorts World Sentosa casino resort, was fined SGD75,000 for failures – under the same terms as Marina Bay Sands – to prevent seven minors gaining access to the casino floor. In Singapore, all patrons must be aged 21 or over in order to gamble legally in its casinos.
“The casino operators have since taken steps to rectify the areas where there had been gaps,” said commentary from CRA’s chief executive Jerry See, contained in the 2016-2017 annual report.
“CRA continues to exercise vigilance on the ground and work with the casino operators to strengthen compliance,” he added.
The authority’s chairman Lee Tzu Yang said in his foreword to the document that the body was “studying… closely” recent regulation in the U.S. states of Nevada and of New Jersey regarding so-called skill-based gaming.
“CRA has been studying these developments closely and reaching out to counterparts on their regulatory philosophy and approach,” stated Mr Lee.
“We must examine our operating parameters and consider how best to continue meeting our regulatory objectives with the emergence of new technology and gaming products, which may challenge or be not covered by the status quo,” he added, also referring to “new interfaces such as virtual reality and mobile devices that may be used in future in gaming”.
CRA’s expenditure on staffing costs in the 12 months to March 31 remained almost the same as for the prior fiscal year, at SGD20.3 million. But costs for management and professional services were registered as 160 percent higher in the latest reporting period, to just over SGD9.5 million, from just under SGD3.7 million in the prior-year period. Most of the fiscal 2016 increase was under the heading “other professional services”.
The 2016-2017 report stated: “Management and professional services included mainly IT [information technology] services and manpower costs, enforcement and monitoring costs and consultant fee payable to various government agencies.”
The authority clarified that in its 2016-2017 report “the accounting policies adopted are consistent with those of the previous financial year,” adding the caveat that CRA had adopted all the new and revised rules under Singapore’s Accounting Standards for Statutory Boards that were effective for annual periods beginning on or after April 1, 2016.
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