If you will look at the recent numbers provided by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), it seems that there is an increasing number of people who gamble in Singapore. It has gone up last year compared to three years ago. In fact, it has reversed the decline over the last decade.
According to the survey, 52% of Singapore residents 18 years old and above participated in at least one form of gambling in the last year. This number is alarming since it was up by 8% from 44% in 2014.
Causes of Gambling
Chinese population living in Singapore is more likely the reason for this increase. There is an increase in gambling activity in the said population who participate in 4D, Toto, and social gambling. However, despite the increase in the gambling activity, it has remained stable since starting the survey in 2005.
Gambling participation rate in 2005 was at 58%. It dropped to 54% in 2008 and 47% by 2011. This survey is being done every three years and has a sample size of 3,000. The term “gambler” is someone who participated in any form of gambling in the last 12 months.
Expanded Help Centers
Because of the possibility of dealing with gambling problems, NCPG has already expanded the number of physical help centers located in the country in the span of two years. From two, there are now six help centers while there are a new phone and Internet-based counseling services that have been added in July.
However, the number of calls and webchats to the National Problem Gambling Helpline decreased to its five-year low. From 23,994 in 2014, there are only 19,628 for 2017. However, gamblers with poor self-control have decreased from 6.2 percent in 2014 to 3.9% in 2017. This dip may be applied for all activities but with the exception of horse racing. The term “self-control” is evaluated by the questions on whether they gambled more than they had planned to.
NCPG chairman Tan Kian Hoon mentioned that “With World Cup 2018 coming up, the NCPG would also be stepping up our public education efforts…(and) will also continue to improve accessibility of help services”.
One of the reasons why the NCPG was formed in 2005 was due to the approved legalization of casinos in Marina Bay and Sentosa. The two integrated resorts started its operations in 2010.
Despite the increased number of gamblers last year, Singapore’s 52% is still lower than Hong Kong’s 61.5% but above Macau’s 51.5% and UK’s 48%.
Is there really a gambling problem among Singapore residents? It is home to some of the biggest gamblers. In fact, betting losses per resident adult amounted to $990 last year in Australia while Singapore comes second at 40% lower. In 2016, loss per adult is at $650. This has a combined loss of around $5.9 billion.
Given these numbers, it is becoming alarming how gambling is becoming popular in the city-state. In fact, the number of gamblers isn’t just the only thing that government should worry about. It should also worry about its biggest gamblers that could be losing so much money.