Controlled Casino Gambling In Singapore: The Future Is Bright

2772 words - 11 pages

Controlled casino gambling in Singapore will positively impact their economy, strengthen their social culture, and benefit other countries as well. Singapore announced 18 April, 2005 that it would allow construction of a pair of Las Vegas-style casinos, giving two gaming operators a potential for a significant revenue jump by the end of the decade (Rahil 18). The fact that the famously conservative Singaporean government is allowing its first ever casino, proves the gambling industry is hot indeed. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced plans for a casino resort, hoping to cash in on the wildfire expansion of gambling around Asia. The Prime Minister revealed the government's decision to end a four decades-long ban on casino gaming in an address to Parliament after months of mulling the economic pros and social cons of gambling (Rosa 10).The announcement reflects a cultural sea-change: whereas gambling and casinos were once widely frowned upon, today they are fast-growing, both in terms of social acceptability and industry-wide revenues. While Las Vegas continues to see visitor numbers ever expand, and the UK government plans to greatly liberalize Britain's casino industry, Singapore is the latest country to consider placing a bet on boosting its gambling revenues. In terms of geographical position it is in exactly the right place, with most gambling industry analysts seeing the Far East as the biggest growth area of all, driven in the main by the Chinese. Gambling remains illegal in mainland China, sending risk-hungry clients overseas (Eadington and Cornelius 203).At present, Chinese people who wish to gamble legally mainly visit Macau, the former Portuguese colony on the Chinese coast west of Hong Kong, which has long been a gambling magnet. Add casinos in other countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines, and Cambodia, and Asia's legal gambling industry is valued at about $14 billion a year (Rosa 10). You can bet your bottom dollar that Singapore is now thinking that it will like its share of this rather lucrative pie. Singapore doubtless has its charms. It is a city brimming with life; a small island of less than 700 square kilometers, with a population of four million; and a city that boasts of an annual tourist arrival of eight million plus--more than double its population. Tourism accounts for at least five percent of the economy in Singapore, a number that economists say understates the importance of the industry to the part of its economy that is not involved with foreign trade (Hutchinson, Mellor, and Olsen 64).Despite its long and colorful history as a regional trading center, Singapore is short on conventional tourist sites like ancient temples or historic quarters. Singapore has succeeded in turning itself into a regional hub for air travel, but tourists are spending less time on average in Singapore, using it instead as a staging ground for forays around Southeast Asia. With Singapore wishing to move its economy more...

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