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Nip casino itch with visit limits

FAMILY INTERVENTION: Visitors at the Resorts World Sentosa casino. Currently, 1,720 people are banned from entering casinos at the integrated resorts because of exclusion orders obtained by their families.


    Apr 11, 2014

    Nip casino itch with visit limits

    WHILE hundreds of families have asked for a relative to be banned from the casinos, none have asked for visit limits to be imposed so far.

    The reason could be that families seek help only as a last resort, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG), which hopes more people will act early to help family members nip their addictions in the bud.

    According to Lianhe Zaobao, a total of 928 visit limits were issued between June last year and the end of last month.

    The Casino Visit Limit was introduced last year as a social safeguard for financially vulnerable locals who frequently visit the casinos. It sets a cap on the number of times per month that a person can visit casinos at the integrated resorts.

    It exists alongside the Casino Exclusion system, which can be used to completely ban certain individuals from entering the casinos.

    There are currently 1,720 people under family exclusion orders, which were applied for by their families. But NCPG has yet to receive applications for family visit limits.

    NCPG director Yoganathan Ammayappan said families might not be looking at this option as they are seeking help only as a last resort, after having endured for a long time the problems created by a relative's gambling addiction.

    He said they could be choosing to get an exclusion order because it provides the most direct solution.

    He said the council is urging gamblers' families to seek help early and apply for visit limits.

    NCPG estimates that there are 4,000 to 6,000 low-income earners in Singapore who are at risk of becoming addicted to gambling, and who enter the casinos between six and 10 times a month.

    It has sent notification letters to nearly 2,000 people, requesting that they provide information on their finances and debts.

    So far, it has imposed third-party visit limits on 584 people. Of the remainder, some were deemed to be not facing financial constraints; others are still being evaluated.