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Locals to pay more to enter Singapore casinos

Fri, Apr 5, 10:00am by Staff Writer

The Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Social and Family Development in Singapore announced in a joint statement that Singapore citizens and permanent residents will now have to pay SGD $150 every day to visit any of the two integrated casino resorts in the country.

Earlier the levy to enter a casino resort for one day was SGD $100. The annual levy has also been increased by 50 per cent, Casino Buzz reported.

Those who now want to have a yearly pass to enter the integrated resorts will have to shell out SGD $3,000. Earlier it was SGD $2,000 for locals.

The increase for entering gambling facilities has come as the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, the two popular Singapore casino resorts, are planning to increase $9 billion in non-gaming activities.

These steps are part of a plan to keep locals away from gambling activities and the government has reassured citizens that problem gambling in Singapore is under control.

Chan Chun Sing, Minister for Trade and Industry, said the government is already attention and active towards any potential negative impact of gambling.

“Although problem gambling has not worsened since the introduction of integrated resorts, we are nevertheless wary of the dangers posed by gambling, in particular, online gambling, which has become an increasingly serious threat,” he said.

“To further limit the social impact of problem gambling on our local population, Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) have agreed to work with MSF to study how to help casino patrons make more informed decisions on their level of play,” Chun added.

Two integrated resorts to expand

The two integrated resorts have been granted permission by the government to expand their gaming floors beyond their current 15,000 square metres apiece.

MBS has been okayed to expand its approved gaming area by an additional 2,000 square metres, on which it can place an additional 1,000 gaming machines.

RWS has been granted a smaller expansion of 500 square metres that will accommodate another 800 machines.

The government said it was granting these perks to the integrated resorts based on their “substantial investment” to date and to ensure “business certainty” for their operations going forward.

On top of the total $15 billion the two operators initially invested to build their properties, they have no committed an additional $9 billion toward non-gaming amenities to boost tourism.

The Sands’ expansion plans include a fourth tower boasting 1,000 hotel rooms catering to the VIP crowd, along with a 15,000 seat entertainment area and expanded meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions space.

Genting’s expansion will also cost $4.5 billion and involve two new ‘destination’ hotels offering a total of 1,100 rooms plus a pair of new attractions – Minion Park and Super Nintendo World – at its Universal Studios Singapore theme park.

The government has also dealt the operators a blow by announcing plans to hike their gambling taxes starting March 2022.

The current five per cent tax on ‘premium’ (VIP) gambling revenue will rise to eight per cent on the first SGD $2.4 billion of gross gaming revenue and anything over that sum will be taxed at 12 per cent.

The government has vowed not to impose any further gaming revenue tax hikes for a 10-year period ending in 2032.

However, should integrated resort operators fail to honour their non-gaming investment pledges, the government will impose flat taxes of 12 and 22 per cent respectively, on all premium and mass gaming revenue.

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