Singapore Government Initiates Plan To Increase Gaming Revenue In 2012
The Singapore government has initiated a few changes to its economic blueprint early this year to increase the country’s gaming revenue and to speed up its plan of becoming the world’s second largest gaming destination. These changes involve a review of the Singapore Gaming Act to mitigate gaming activities and promote responsible gambling among its citizens as well as establish partnerships with junket operators.
“There are elements that pertain to overall security and crime aspect, and there are elements pertaining to the social aspects which we need to look at,” trade and industry second minister S. Iswaran told the Singapore media.
Results of the review of the Singapore Gaming Act will be released during the second half of the year. Changes to the Act are intended to ringfence its integrated resorts from organized crime activities and illegal junkets.
The Singapore government has been regulating the nascent gaming industry of the country since its inception in 2010. Citizens are required to pay a levy of SG$100 to be permitted to gamble inside casinos for 24 hours.
“When we introduced the integrated resorts in Singapore, the casinos were a small part of a larger project and there were several non-economic contributions we were expecting from them. Now we’ve seen the evolution of that whether it is in terms of job creation, economic value, and so on,” said Iswaran.
Singapore has been poised to become the second gaming mecca in Asia and is seen to outstrip Las Vegas in terms of revenue. Last year, its two IRs, Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands, earned a combined generated income of US$5.7 billion, over 80 percent of the total revenue of 55 Las Vegas casinos combined. The IRs income is projected to increase to US$6.9 billion this year.
Singapore has also recently partnered up with junket operators (also known as International Market Agents) who can increase the business volume of the IRs by luring in more players, especially high rollers, to the casinos.
Singapore is still far from taking over Macau as the top gaming destination in the world with the latter earning a whopping US$33.5 billion in revenues in 2011.