Singapore drafts gaming bill

Oct 25, 2005 3:14 AM

The long-awaited draft of Singapore’s Casino Control Bill was released last week, with some of its provisions raising a few eyebrows.

If enacted, the bill would cover the operation and regulation of casino gaming in Singapore, establish a Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) and amend existing civil and tax codes to accommodate commercial gambling.

Probably to the disappointment of some, the bill allows only two casinos to operate for the first 10 years. Each casino must operate independently of each other and be owned by separate interests.

A surprise stipulation is the requirement that the CRA inspect and review a casino operation within three years of its inception.

This provision has several high-powered operators concerned because they could invest a billion dollars or more, then undergo scrutiny with the possibility of losing its license.

A gaming tax of 5% will be levied on the gross gaming revenues (paid monthly) from premium players, and 15% of the gross gaming revenues from other players. Premium players are defined as those with at least $100,000 on deposit or credit line at the casino.

The minimum age to gamble is 21 and minors will be excluded from the casinos.

There will be an entrance fee assessed on residents of Singapore. Fees will be waived for foreigners.

There will be no ATM machines permitted in the casinos.

The casinos will be barred from extending credit to patrons, unless the patron is not a permanent resident of Singapore.

The provisions of the act will be open to public debate until November 11, when the Singapore Parliament is expected to vote on the bill.