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 the city-state’s casino self-exclusion programme. The groups under consideration are local (i.e., non-foreign) workers and self-identified members of religious groups.
The announcement was made on Monday in Singapore’s parliament by Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing, reports Channel News Asia.
Mr Chan stressed that group applications would have to respect “the principles of individual decision, ownership and responsibility”.
Currently, group submissions are only open to foreign workers.
NCPG is part of Singapore’s national framework designed to address the issue of problem gambling.
As of end-2014, the number of casino self-exclusions stood at almost 191,000, up by 6.3 percent quarter-on-quarter, show data from the NCPG. Over 90 percent of casino self-exclusions involved foreigners, according to the council. Singapore’s foreign population – those without citizenship or residency – stood at 1.6 million people or 29 percent of the total population of 5.47 million as of mid-2014 according to Statistics Singapore.
Some previous media reports have suggested that one of the reasons why the number of foreigners applying for self-exclusion from casinos is so high is because some Singaporean bosses ask for such a pledge as a condition of employment for newly-imported workers.
Singapore has two casinos: Marina Bay Sands, owned by Las Vegas Sands Corp; and Resorts World Sentosa, a development of Genting Singapore Plc.
The city has a centralised system, launched last May, that allows Singapore residents voluntarily to exclude themselves from both casino and non-casino gambling venues, via an online application.
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