Monday, February 22, 2010

Singapore casino crimes may be a taste of things to come

As a regular contributor to Gambling Compliance, an industry publication, I closely followed Singapore's transition into a casino city.

One of the biggest concerns for Singapore's nascent casino regulators and police was how to ensure that the crime, both organized and low-level, that plagues Macau and other casino destinations in Asia was not replicated in the a city that prides itself on its safety and security.

So what to make of the news that Singapore arrested eight people and jailed one within the first four days of the opening of the first of Singapore's two casinos?

The crimes - theft of a mobile phone, identity fraud and attempts to avoid the S$100 ($71) daily entry fee for locals - were pretty minor and I suspect the authorities will not be too bothered about a few initial such offences.

But the police will be keen to ensure that such petty crime does not become endemic.

Nevertheless, the bigger concern is regarding organised crime: illegal moneylending, money laundering, side-betting and related issues including prostitution and violence.

These professional crooks are much more sophisticated and it will take some time before it becomes apparent whether the Singaporean authorities have managed to keep them away from its virgin casinos.

I'm hoping to visit the casinos in the next couple of months to get a better idea of how Singapore's latest gambling experiment is working out.


  1. The assumption that these minor crimes resulted from the opening of a few casinos is a bit far fetched. Is it possible that this was more of a coincidence and that Singapore's police are jumping to conclusions a little too soon?

  2. My bet is on the professional crooks getting the better of our men-in-blue. Look no further than the moron helming MHA and you get my drift.

    All these years the men-in-blue have been honing their skills to deal with opposing politicians and it takes a primary 6 school dropout like Mas Selamat to expose their deficiencies.

    In general they can't be streetsmart if you go by the example of the dear leader, who was taken to the cleaners by the professional crooks in the Suzhou joint venture.

    Incidently the massive losses by GIC and Temasek also suggest professional crooks were involved and I believe they were capable of selling sand to the Arabs.