More Foreigners Seeking Casino Self-Exclusion Orders
That’s a a slightly odd title so let’s just briefly have a look at how gambling works in Singapore. Back in 2005, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loone passed a somewhat controversial law to allow the development of two casino resorts, or integrated resorts as they were described at the time. There’s more detail here. The new law legalised gambling but the Prime Minister was obliged to put in place various measures to ‘protect’ locals and foreign workers alike from the evils of gambling.
Really targeted at tourists and foreign residents the casinos were made deliberately expensive for local Singaporeans and self-exclusion was one of the policies out in place. For Singaporeans it allowed family members to apply to have the person concerned banned from either casino. The same rule also applied to foreign residents.
The situation now appears to be that these foreign residents – mostly low-wage construction
workers from China and India – are being asked or sometimes required to agree to self-exclusion as part of their employment agreements. Eng Lee Engineering, which employs around 400 foreign workers, said that any of their workers who did not comply with the self-exclusion would lose their work permits.
Other companies may not take such a hard line but do encourage their workers to take part. HEC Electrical and Construction, in a surprisingly honest statement said: “Their pay is not high, so we don’t want them to waste their hard-earned money,”
Others still are happy for their employees to gamble but will act if it looks like becoming a problem. So it’s hardly self-exclusion, more like large companies enforcing their will on poorly paid employees, threatening them with the loss of their work permit if they fail to comply. The percentage of exclusions for foreigners has risen to 70% of the 18,000 total so far (since the casinos 2010 opening). There has been no significant rise in the number of local Singaporeans applying for self-exclusion of being excluded by their families.