Published in Straits Times Online
UNLIKE some Singaporeans, I have supported the building of the two casinos in Singapore. I consider gambling to be a part of life.
Many people gamble on 4-D, Toto, mahjong and on sports events. For most people, the biggest gamble is on the stock markets. They speculate on the movement of stock prices, although they think they are making an investment.
In my view, there is nothing wrong when a person gambles away money that he can afford to lose. If he does not spend the money on a bet, he could have spent the same money on other forms of entertainment.
It is a different matter, however, when a person gambles away money that he cannot afford to lose. I was, therefore, shocked to learn that a person could lose $26 million over three days at a casino. It does not take so much money to cause financial disaster for a family. Many people cannot afford to lose a few thousand dollars that are needed for the expenses of their household.
The real danger is not in gambling with cash, but gambling on credit. The Government should forbid the casino from granting credit to patrons. All gambling should be with cash brought in or wired in advance to an account in the casino. This restriction should be extended to all other licensed gambling outlets. I also urge the Government to pass a law to disallow the operation of loan sharks that lend money for gambling. All such loans should be treated as unlawful and unenforceable.
When the real danger, that is, gambling on credit, is dealt with, I suggest the removal of the levy of $100 that has to be paid by Singapore citizens and permanent residents visiting a casino. Do not deprive Singapore residents of the chance to enjoy the excellent facilities of these two casinos when they are made readily available to tourists from our neighbouring countries and from afar.
Tan Kin Lian
Here is another view by Lucky Tan
For those who think that each person should be responsible for his own behavior, just imagine what would be your feeling, if your spouse or family member come home one day from the casino and told you that he or she had incurred a big debt. It does not have to be $26 million, but it could be half of your net worth! Can you afford to have this happen to your family? It is so easy for any family to be caught in this situation.