SINGAPORE Friday July 29, 2011: A senior official has voiced concerns over the effects of casinos in Singapore shortly after Marina Bay Sands reported its strongest quarterly results, Xinhua news agency said citing a report in local newspaper Today on Friday.
Writing on her Facebook page, Senior Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts Grace Fu said she was concerned about the social effects of the casino resorts, known as integrated resorts (IR) in Singapore.
"While I acknowledge the contribution of IRs to our economy, I am concern(ed) about the social effects," she said.
Fu said she was also worried about the rising number of advertisements by moneylenders offering 'quick loan/fast cash', in several local Chinese dailies.
On Tuesday, the Samaritans of Singapore (SOS), a not-for-profit organisation, expressed worries over the spike in calls it has received about loan sharks and gambling problems.
Marina Bay Sands, one of the two casino resorts inaugurated last year, reported its strongest ever quarterly performance on Wednesday.
"Nobody can convince me that we've even touched the area of saturation of the market. I think Singapore's going to continue to grow and grow and grow," he said.
Lawmaker Charles Chong said: "If MBS is planning to expand its non-gambling facilities, that is fine. But if it is looking to enlarge its casinos, that will be a little bit of a concern."
Another lawmaker Ang Hin Kee said that casinos have created benefits such as jobs and economic growth but the management of the social ills should not just be "outsourced" to agencies.
"The operator and economic agencies also need to be part of the equation," he said.
Singapore currently charges a 100 Singapore dollars (US$83.3) levy each time a citizen enters a casino.