Casinos: No 2 in Asia.Contrary to expectations, Singapore’s new casinos are piling up the profits and miseries of the foolhardy. Excerpts: The Star 38 August,2010
- SIX months ago, Singapore’s history took a crucial turn when it opened the first of its two casino resorts that cost US$10 billion to build.
- So far the winners are Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) and, of course, the Singapore economy.
- Its own Hall of Misfortunes include a local businessman, who lost S$26.3 million after a few day’s work at the baccarat table in the Malaysian-owned Sentosa casino. He has since paid part of it, but still owes the operators S$11 million. Taiwan pop star Jay Chou lost S$2 million playing at Marina Bay.12 gamblers had chalked up unpaid losses of S$5-S$11 million, and about 200 Malaysians and Chinese still had unpaid losses ranging from S$500,000 to $2 million.
- Despite disincentives, Singapo¬reans are believed to make up one third of the total casino gamblers. The rest are foreigners who come from Malaysia, China and the region.
- There have been winners, too, but unlike losers – the big ones are often publicised. The most common are winnings of S$100,000 to S$200,000 each.an ethnic Chinese from Indonesia won the biggest jackpot payout of S$2.2 million.In April, a French tourist struck a S$1.66 million jackpot.
- The two casinos are earning more than S$16 million a day – or a prospective S$6 billion a year. Resort World Sentosa alone could hit a S$1 billion profit jackpot in 2010. Revenue-wise, the overall big winner is Singapore which has attracted some four million new tourists. It has become the second biggest casino market in Asia after Macau, and looks set to replace Las Vegas as the second biggest revenue earner after Macau in three years’ time.
- Before the casinos came, Singaporeans were already spending S$6 billion a year on legal gambling, plus another $1.5 billion in cruises and offshore casinos.
- Two years ago, a government survey found about 1.95 million Singaporean adults – or 54% – had indulged in some form of gambling in the previous year.“Pathological gamblers” make up to 1.6%, or 56,000 people.
- To minimise widespread casino gambling, the government has imposed a S$100 entry fee per day, and allows families to apply to stop a habitual gambling member from going in. Has it worked? It does not seem so.
As a child of God should I be tempted to join in casino gambling?
What could be my motivations?
- To win big from a pool of money that has been collected from many who are addicted and poor in spirit? No, I should not do that because the Word says I should work if I want to eat and taking from the poor guy (who may seem rich because of his perceived wealth by asset value, by the rest of the world) is not ethically right and in accordance with the Word. Eph 4:28; II Thessalonians. 3:12; Proverbs 31
- To try my luck – for once perhaps lady luck will smile at me. A Christian should not believe in luck. Everything is in God’s control we believe Godo and not lady luck. We should submit to God’s control rather than to lady luck. Perhaps I will have beginner’s luck just once and then I will stop – that’s not a high probability.
- It does not cost much just to try my hand at it – whatever I have belongs to God – it is not good stewardship to spend it on gambling. Psalms. 24:1, Luke 16:10-11.
- Join the crowd – why not? My friends are all going to have a try – we have some time of recreation – we are to be separate from the world in worldly pursuits.
- If I win I can give my winnings to missions or the work of the Lord – the Lord does not need money that is not ethically obtained. The Lord will provide for His work.
What are the other reasons for not gambling?
- I may be able to control my addiction to gambling but my brother or sister may not. I would be a bad example for him to follow and will become a stumbling-block to him. (I Cor. 8:9, 13).
- Gambling is addictive and may detract me from my responsibilities of
- Spending time with my family – instead of spending time with them I spend time gambling
- Providing financially for my family – at first I may use my spare savings for gambling. However, when addiction grips me, I may use money for sustenance of my family to gamble especially when I am in the “gambler’s ruin mode” psychologically i.e. in a bad run I still hope to win and continue trying my luck with more and more bets and no win.
- Sustaining good performance at work to keep my job – I may be thinking of what strategy to adopt at my next gambling session and be so immersed and desperate to win that I do not focus on my job when I should.
- Keeping good relations within the family – gambling losses could cause me to become irritable and anxious and ruin my relationship with my family when my pre-occupation is how to cover my losses.
- Being a bad example in my attitudes for my family – I may adopt the wrong attitudes of
– “easy come, easy go” with the hope of winning and find alas that it is not so easy to win and easier to lose by which time a lifestyle that is not sustainable has gripped me.
– covetousness and greed (leaving contentment behind).
– increased lying for loss cover-ups and increased time spent on gambling.
- Gambling causes hardship to my family and loved ones
- I may become involved in other bad habits drinking, smoking and cursing to assuage the pain of losses and to be part of the gambling party. (Exodus 20:17; I Tim. 6:9; Heb 13:5, Proverbs 15:27) and ruin my health.
- I may lose my home and other assets if I accumulate heavy gambling losses and have to borrow to pay for them, and become bankrupt and tarnish my reputation and propensity to be employed.
- I may need professional intervention to stop my gambling addiction and other addictions and to the extent of preventing me from going to jail. It disrupts my routine living arrangements.
I will lose my witness as a Christian (because even non-Christians think gambling is wrong) and displease my Lord and Saviour. I cannot with all honesty gamble and include it in Colossians 3:17 “whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him”.
I will bring shame to the name of my Lord if I gamble and that is the real reason for my not gambling.
Rom 12:2…And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
My prayer is that all Christians in Singapore will stay away from the casinos and may the Lord help us keep our ltestimony lights burning consistently for Him and not be tempted no matter how loud the call from from friends and the casinos become.