Sunday, September 27

Singapore fines casinos for breaching social safeguard requirements

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SINGAPORE: The Casino Regulatory Authority of Singapore has fined the city state’s two casino operators for breaching social safeguard requirements that had been put in place to prevent the casinos from targeting the local markets; Xinhua quoted the authority as saying on Monday.

The authority said it imposed penalties of S$255,000 on Marina Bay Sands, while Resorts World Sentosa was fined S$130,000.

Between August 2010 and April 2011, the Marina Bay Sands had let in 14 Singapore citizens and permanent residents without valid entry levies, while Resorts World Sentosa let in five.

Marina Bay Sands also allowed two Singaporeans and permanent residents with expired entry levies to remain in the casino, while Resorts World Sentosa did so with three persons.

Separately, Marina Bay Sands let in six persons on exclusion orders, and Resorts World Sentosa let in one.

Marina Bay Sands was fined for letting in two minors, while Resorts World Sentosa let in six minors and was also separately censured for five cases of similar breaches.

The casinos, known as integrated resorts as they come with shopping malls, recreation facilities and hotels, were inaugurated in 2010. Within two years, they have made Singapore’s one of the world’s top three gaming markets.

Singapore currently imposed a day levy of S$100 or an annual levy of S$2,000 on citizens or permanent residents no less than 21 years old. The entry levies are not refundable.

Those under the age of 21 are not allowed in the casinos.

Lau Peet Meng, chief executive of the authority, said the social safeguards were put in place to mitigate the casino’s potential impact on vulnerable persons and to ring fence the casinos from potential criminal influence.

“We are taking tough disciplinary action against the casino operators for the cases where they have failed to show due care in complying with our requirements to prevent minors and excluded persons from entering the casinos, and to ensure that entry levies are duly paid,” he said.

It was the first case of disciplinary action taken since rules were tightened in November last year to make sure the casinos do not target the domestic market in their marketing and promotions.

The building of the casinos has been controversial to a certain extent as some had opposed the plan on the ground that they may create more social problems. A study on their social impact is expected to be released soon.