IRs ‘to add $1.38b to govt coffers’

Dear Straits Times,

I refer to the 25 Nov 2010 report on our integrated resort revenues.

It was reported that the gaming revenue is expected to hit $6 billion this year and that conservatively, an estimated 50,000 visitors visit our casinos each day of which 28% are Singapore residents. That works out to be 5.1 million visits by Singapore residents this year including repeat visits.

Now suppose each visit by a Singapore resident results in a loss of $1,000 on average. The total losses by Singapore residents will work out to be $5.1 billion. That will mean that the bulk of the $6 billion gaming revenue is actually contributed by Singapore residents. We must understand that gambling losses by Singapore residents are simply money changing hands that contribute nothing to real output of products or services. Exactly how much of that $6 billion gaming revenue is simply money changing hands within Singapore nobody knows because we are not told how much Singaporeans have lost in the casinos.

The claim that the integrated resorts have boosted tourism related sectors like hotels and restaurants is also doubtful considering the 31 Oct 2010 Straits Times report “Casino study cost Dennis Foo $250K”. In that report, Mr Foo claimed that his outlets have suffered a 20% hit in business ever since the integrated resorts opened. In other words, the casinos have cannibalised on local businesses as predicted long ago.

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