The proportion of the total Singapore population identified as having problems with gambling has fallen to a 10-year low, reports Chinese news agency Xinhua, quoting an official survey by the city-state.
Singapore’s latest Gambling Participation Survey was published on Thursday. It indicates that 0.7 percent of Singapore’s 2014 population are problem gamblers to some degree. The study is conducted every three years. A 2011 survey suggested 2.6 percent of inhabitants had such behaviour.
Statistics Singapore said in a data digest issued on Tuesday that Singapore’s total population stood at 5,469,724 people as of June 30, 2014.
The latest Gambling Participation Survey indicated that what it referred to as the overall gambling rate of Singapore residents also declined from 47 percent in 2011 to 44 percent last year. It attributed the change to better awareness of problem gambling and the greater range of help available.
The survey polled 3,000 Singapore residents who are above 18 years old.
In recent years Singapore has taken a series of measures aimed at mitigating the effects of any problem gambling among locals. It has targeted online gambling as well as offline kinds.
Singapore in 2010 permitted two major casino resorts – Resorts World Sentosa developed and operated by Genting Singapore Plc, and Marina Bay Sands, developed and run by Las Vegas Sands Corp – to open with the aim of attracting more foreign tourists to the city. Singapore citizens and Singapore permanent residents must pay a levy in order to enter the casino floors.
Last month the city-state’s government announced that Singapore’s National Council on Problem Gaming (NCPG) is to study the feasibility of allowing whole groups of local people to apply to be barred from the city’s gaming resorts under Singapore’s casino self-exclusion programme.
Singapore’s Remote Gambling Act came into force on Monday and outlaws remote gambling activities in the city-state including betting via the Internet.
The latest Gambling Participation Survey indicated that despite the drop in the overall rate of involvement in the habit; those gamblers admitting behaviour deemed pathological are exhibiting such behaviour more frequently and at a younger age.
Data suggested that 83 percent of pathological gamblers show such behaviour at least once a week, an increase from the 68 percent in 2011. In addition, 18 percent have started before 18 years old, up from the 5 percent in 2011, reported Xinhua, quoting the survey.
Chan Chun Sing, Singapore’s Minister of Social and Family Development, was quoted saying: “They seem to be gambling with greater intensity and less self-control, bringing great harm to themselves and their families. Yet many of them do not seek help until it is too late. MSF will work with NCPG to do more to encourage help-seeking and expand preventive education and support services.”
A survey on social attitudes to casinos, published in January by Shih Chien University in Taiwan, said 35.7 percent of the 409 Singapore respondents said they “never” went to casinos for gambling.
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"If the [Macau casino] concessions are put up for bid, there will also be a lot of giant Chinese companies, some having nothing to do with gaming, which would like to take over these enormously successful casinos”
Professor emeritus at Whittier Law School in California, in the United States, and a visiting professor at University of Macau