The investments proved to be a bonanza for each company.
However, as gambling has expanded, community leaders, whose stated intention was to increase the number of tourists in the area, have become more wary of the impact the casinos have been making.
That concern was manifested last week with the announcement from the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs that it plans to amend the Casino Control Act to enable regulatory agencies to levy fines of up to 10% of gross gaming revenue on casinos for rules violations. Current maximum fine is $788,500.
When passed, the Casino Control Act specifically focused on limiting local participation in gambling by imposing a $100 admission fee on all attendees except tourists. Also, the regulators placed 13,000 residents on a list of those banned from entering the casinos.
In announcing the amendments to the Act, officials added another 15,000 residents to the banned list, thus bringing the total to 28,000 residents who were considered bankrupt or who depend on government assistance.
The government said it will accept citizen comments on the proposed rules for the month of July before finalizing them.
Analysts questioned the rules changes and their timing, considering that Pacific Rim countries are in the process of either expanding or approving new gambling measures.
Macau, the world’s gaming leader, is overseeing the expansion of gaming on the Cotai Strip while gaming properties are rising in Viet Nam, the Philippines, and potentially Taiwan.