Monday, March 26, 2007

Everyone’s Hopping Onto the Casino Bandwagon

Most Singaporeans remember the luo-han fish and bubble tea debacle of a few years ago. Initial success followed by a mushrooming of outlets, led to over-supply and finally disaster.

I fear that it will happen to the casino industry. As you can see from the above news items, everybody is jumping on the casino band wagon.

I really do not know what to hope for.

I would hate to see our two casino projects fail because we are pumping in so much of our scarce resources into them; and Singaporeans will suffer the consequences. But, I suppose those big-time casino operators who are investing millions into these projects have done their homework and know what they are doing. But on the other hand, you never know. Greed often clouds our judgment. And the world economy is volatile and unpredictable.

At the same time, I also do not like to see these projects become a booming success and turn my beloved Singapore into a vice capital.

Anyway, the closing paragraph of the last BBC article is worth noting:

One country that already has a reputation for being a popular destination for Asian gamblers is Australia. However the promised windfall in tax revenues and jobs has not always materialised, according to Jan McMillen (director of the Center for Gambling Research at the Australian National University).

Concerns have also risen over the number of Australian gambling addicts and in recent years casinos have been forced to cut back.

"We're in shutdown mode. It's fascinating to look at the rest of the world and wonder if they've learned from our experience," said Ms McMillen. (BBC; 20 April, 2005)

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