Singapore may very well be the most conservative country in the world. This shows up in numerous ways from the prohibition on chewing gum in public to severe restrictions on gambling. Online casinos that offer casino gambling to Singaporean citizens must be run in Singapore. Singaporean online casinos have a great deal of freedom to offer casino bonuses, tournaments, and many other accoutrements that online gamers in other countries enjoy.
There are, however, very severe restrictions on outside online casinos.
Land Based Casinos
Singaporeans have to pay a higher entrance fee to get into land based casinos in the country than non-residents pay. The idea is that the government wants to discourage gambling generally but is well aware of the fact that gambling is like a genie that has been cooped up for a very long time. If Singaporeans are entirely forbidden to gamble legally, they will likely find ways to gamble illegally.
World Cup and Sports Betting
Now the government of Singapore is trying to prevent illegal gambling and excessive or problem gambling on the part of Singaporeans during the World Cup now underway and scheduled to last about one month.
Every nation that loves football is wild for the World Cup. It is the premier international tournament among nations. The Olympics are also extremely popular but they are ostensibly amateur competitions. The World Cup makes no bones about being a football tournament in which professional footballers represent their native countries even if they play in the league of a different country.
The government of Singapore fears that its citizens will get overly enamored of betting on World Cup matches to the detriment of the individual gamblers and to society as a whole.
Efforts to Stem Problem Betting
The National Council on Problem Gambling is stepping up educational outreach directed at the cohort most likely to both follow the World Cup tournament closely and also to place bets on the games—males aged 18-35. This outreach is mostly to try to show these young men the damage that excessive gambling can do.
The program will target this cohort through advertisements in newspapers and television and at two places young men frequent: bus stops and coffee shops. The communications will seek to educate the young men as to the signs of nascent problem gambling and ill encourage them to seek help before the problem metastasizes.
As well intentioned as it is, this type of approach will probably fail to achieve its goal because problem gamblers above all others are the most likely to believe that it could never happen to them.
The campaign targeting World Cup gambling is merely a continuation of the activities of the National Council on Problem Gambling to do whatever it can to help solve this major problem.
Efforts to Stem Illegal Gambling
The National Crime Prevention Council has launched its own campaign to try to prevent illegal gambling on World Cup matches.
As reported above, there are severe restrictions on casinos based outside Singapore. There is the fear that these casinos and sportsbooks might target young Singaporeans to make illegal bets on the World Cup.
The government of Singapore, for years, was reluctant to allow land based casinos to be built in the small island city state. The government had legitimate concerns about the effect a land based casino might have on the surrounding community and how it might affect the behavior of the country’s citizens.
The government also saw that Singaporeans, like people everywhere, like to gamble and would do so either illegally or by travelling to countries where there were land based casinos.
The idea that convinced the government to allow land based casinos to be built in the country was Integrated Resorts.
More Than a Casino
An Integrated Resort is a combination of many opportunities for individuals, couples, families, and tourists. The casino may be well-advertised but it isn’t the single biggest attraction in the resort.
An Integrated Resort will have family-friendly attractions such as a water park and an activities center for kids. Families can come to the resort with their children and never set foot in the casino at all. The practice begun in Las Vegas of making the hotel customers walk through the casino to get to the hotel desk would not obtain in the hotel at an Integrated Resort.
An Integrated Resort might have a hotel with family suites in addition to rooms for singles and couples. The hotel would feature all the amenities of top hotels without emphasizing the casino at all. The hotel would likely feature a full spa, lobby, dining, and pools.
The hotel would also attract outsiders who are coming to the resort for a convention or conference. Thus, an Integrated Resort needs a convention center. The resort management would spend as much time or more attracting conventions knowing that much of the activity at the conventions would support other aspects of the resort instead of the casino.
The resort would have a theater and entertainment center. The center would present plays, shows, and all manner of theatrical entertainment.
The resort would have several restaurants serving every type of clientele the resort might attract from pizza and fast food to fine dining.
A fully functioning Integrated Resort would have a large shopping mall so people could come to shop if that’s all they want or need to do.
The Idea Has Spread
The concept of the Integrated Resort has been so successful that the governments of Japan and the Philippines have also adopted it. In North America, the concept was known for some time even if it wasn’t called an Integrated Resort. New casinos in North America are being built along the same line as the Integrated Resorts from the Far East, where the casino is merely one part of a much larger complex.
Gambling in Singapore
Problem gambling remains an issue in Singapore as elsewhere so the government is focusing on the World Cup to get the message across to all Singaporeans that gambling is tolerated but can get out of hand. If it does, the government is there to help.