92% of problem gamblers in Singapore are Chinese
By Ng Kai Ling, The Straits Times/Asia News Network
January 13, 2011, 11:19 am TWN
SINGAPORE -- Chinese men aged 30 to 50 make up the bulk of those excluded from the casinos in Singapore at their own request or that of their family.
There are 3,816 problem gamblers on self-exclusion and family exclusion orders. Of these, 78 percent are male, 92 percent are Chinese and 60 percent are between the ages of 30 and 50.
As of Dec. 31, the vast majority of problem gamblers — 3,519 — excluded themselves. Only 297 were excluded by family members. Most applications for such orders are from spouses of the gamblers, followed by parents, children and siblings.
Another 27,500 people are on third party exclusions because they are on public assistance or are bankrupts.
Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Vivian Balakrishnan provided a snapshot of a typical problem gambler, in response to questions from Nominated MP Paulin Tay Straughan.
Dr Balakrishnan said that as the two casinos had been operating for less than a year, "it would be premature to draw a conclusion on the impact of the casinos on local problem gambling or the adequacy of our social safeguards".
The Government will continue to enhance social safeguards, he added. It had also reminded the integrated resorts (IRs) not to target the local market.
As for low-wage foreign workers, the National Council on Problem Gambling is working with employers and the Migrant Workers Centre to help them apply for exclusion orders.
Seah Kian Peng asked if it was legal for casinos to publicize winnings on their websites.
The minister replied: "They will want to publicize the wins; you will find they never publicize the losses and the consequences of those losses on the gamblers and their families. So MCYS is taking steps to put a stop to that sort of asymmetric and unfair publicity which the IRs are embarking on."