Mr Christopher de Souza: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) what are the reasons for providing Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa with the option to increase their Approved Gaming Area by 2,000 square meters and 500 square meters respectively; (b) whether a study has been carried out to examine whether an increase in gaming area would cause a rise in problem gambling; and (c) what further measures will be put in place to help ensure that problem gambling will be deterred.
Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry why the expansion of gaming areas for the two casinos by 2,000 square meters for Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and 500 square meters for Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) and the increase in gambling machines from 2,500 to 3,500 for MBS and 3,300 for RWS are necessary for the commercial viability of the proposed expansion of the integrated resorts.
Mr Dennis Tan Lip Fong: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) why did the Casino Regulatory Authority allow MBS and RWS to increase their approved gaming area by 13% and 3% respectively, and their slot machines by 40% and 34% respectively; and (b) prior to the approvals, were any stakeholders consulted in respect of the possible social implications on Singaporeans arising from the proposed increases and, if so, who were these stakeholders.
Oral Answer (to be attributed to Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Mr Chee Hong Tat)
1. The business model of an Integrated Resort (IR) combines a controlled proportion of gaming activities with a wide range of high quality non-gaming amenities such as theatres, theme parks, museums, hotels, MICE facilities, restaurants and retail shops. Gaming activities are an important source of revenue for the operators, contributing more than two-thirds of their total revenue. The gaming revenue makes it commercially viable for them to offer the non-gaming facilities, as one integrated package.
2. The two IRs have not decided to activate their additional gaming options.If both IRs exercise their options for additional gaming area in full, gaming area as a proportion of total floor area will drop from 3% today to 2.3%, as the expansion of non-gaming area is much larger.The IRs have also stated that the additional gaming provisions will be targeted at higher-tier, non-mass market players, who are mostly tourists.
3. Based on the Gambling Participation Survey conducted by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), the probable problem and pathological gambling rate of Singapore residents has decreased from 2.6% in 2011 to 0.9% in 2017. This includes all forms of gambling, such as casino, horse racing and online gambling.
4. The Government takes a serious view on tackling problem gambling and will continue to work closely with our community partners to help affected individuals and families. We had discussed with them before making the announcement. The Government will also be strengthening our social safeguards. Minister Desmond Lee has explained how we are doing so in his reply to Mr Seah Kian Peng.