Singapore bars low-income citizens from casinos
Charity workers welcomed Singapore's move to extend its ban on low-income gamblers, but some said it may be targeting the wrong people.
"The impact of the ban will not be significant as not many who are on social assistance will be able to afford the 100-dollar (78-US-dollar) entrance levy anyway," said Chan Boon Huat, who works with One Hope Centre, a charity for the elderly, poor and vulnerable.
The government of Singapore, where gambling was illegal until 2010 when two casino-centred resorts opened, announced on Thursday that it was tightening rules to safeguard the financially vulnerable.
From July 1, around 12,000 citizens and permanent residents who receive state financial assistance from the Community Care Endowment Fund will be banned from the casinos at Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands.
A month later, another 3,000 people living in government flats who have rental arrears of six months or more will be barred from the casinos.
The ban follows a survey by the National Council on Problem Gambling last year which showed that more low-income earners were making large bets.
Around 28,000 people are already banned from the casinos by authorities because they fall into various low-income categories.
Another 70,000 people in Singapore have voluntarily blacklisted themselves to help them curb their gambling urges. Around 1,000 gamblers have been put on the barred list by their families.