Singapore Casinos Deliver Government Nearly $1B in Entrance Fees

Posted on: May 7, 2019, 12:20h. 

Last updated on: May 7, 2019, 12:20h.

Singapore casinos have delivered the city-state’s government nearly $1 billion in entrance fees incurred by citizens and permanent residents accessing the gaming floors.

Singapore casinos Marina Bay Sands Resorts
Locals lines to gain access to Singapore casinos are a source of great wealth for the city-state’s coffers. (Image: Resorts World Sentosa)

The Southeast Asia island republic is home to two integrated casino resorts: Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa. Last month, the Singaporean government increased the daily casino entrance fee on citizens and permanent residents from S$100 to S$150 ($73 to $110). The flat annual entrance rate surged from $1,466 to $2,200.

Despite the tariff program imposed on locals – which is designed to thwart problem gamblers from accessing the floors – the city-state is reaping a large financial reward from the entrance fee. Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo revealed this week in parliament that the casino entrances have directed $954 million in charges to the federal government since 2010 – or roughly $120 million annually.

Foreign guests are permitted to access the casino floors for free. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) at the two casinos totaled around $4.4 billion last year.

Officials Say Program Working

Though Singapore citizens and full-time residents have spent almost $1 billion since 2010 just to reach a casino floor, government representatives say the program to discourage problem gamblers is working.

The daily and annual entry levies serve to deter casual and impulse gambling by locals and are part of a holistic suite of social safeguards,” Teo told the legislature. “Between 2010 and 2018, the number of local visitors to the casinos declined by 50 percent.”

When asked by one lawmaker if the annual entrance option should be rescinded, Teo answered, “The data is quite clear. Annual holders tend to have higher incomes. For these affluent individuals who want to visit casinos often, such as premium players, the annual entry levy provides convenience.”

Teo adds that casino-related crime has dropped dramatically over the last eight years. She explained that the total number of cases fell from 299 in 2010 to 126 last year, a 58 percent decline.

Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee added that problem gamblers make up less than one percent of the population.

Singapore Gaming Industry

Singapore recently agreed to extend the two exclusive gaming licenses for Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa through 2030 in exchange for billions of dollars in further capital investments at the integrated casino complexes.

Las Vegas Sands will spend $3.3 billion to expand its iconic resort with a new 1,000-suite luxury hotel tower and state-of-the-art entertainment arena. Resorts World is incorporating two new theme parks and enlarging its aquarium – also at a cost of $3.3 billion.

The casino operators will collectively pay the government almost $1.7 billion for land to build their respective expansions. The funds will be directed to the Tote Board, which supports social and community programs.

Both properties will be permitted to house additional gaming terminals and expand the size of their casino floors. Marina Bay Sands has been afforded 1,000 new gaming positions, and Resorts World 800.