"Singaporeans and permanent residents paid a total of $288 million in casino levies in 2011 and the first six months of this year." - Straits Times Breaking News[Link]
The govt is now considering further measures to limit the visits for those who are financially vulnerable and problem gamblers[Link]. By the time someone is identified to be a problem gambler, it is probably too late. But it is still better than doing nothing. However, much more can be done. In S. Korea, for example, citizens are not allowed to enter the casinos[Link]. If the govt is serious, we can go much further with the measures - do an opt-in scheme rather than an exclusion scheme. If you want to go to the casino, apply to go in and get means tested and some counselling before you're allowed to play at the casinos. The problem is after you allow the building of casinos here, it is unpopular and difficult to implement measures targeting citizens - some will complain it is unfair to target them rather than the measures are there for protection.
While some argue that building the casinos right here is no big deal because those who want to gamble can travel to Genting or go on a cruise, the numbers tell us a different story. Putting a casino here in close proximity to where people live gives them easy access to casino gambling. Casino gambling is very different from Toto and 4D[Link] in its ability to cause addiction. The number of cases seen by NPGC has increase sharply since the casinos are built[Link]. The main beneficiaries are the 2 foreign companies operating the casinos that make billions in profits from Singaporeans every year. That money could have been spent on services and goods provided by Singapore businesses through domestic consumption. If you look around at the town central and observe carefully, you will notice that the number of pawn shops (Maxi-Cash, Money-Max etc) has increased several fold since the casinos opened. Maxi-Cash is doing a booming business and recently obtain a listing on the stock exchange to raise money for expansion[Maxi-Cash jumps 30% on IPO debut]. All this tells me there is a kind of decay happening in our society - it is similar to termites eating a wooden pillar, it is done from the inside, you see nothing on the surface until it is too late.