Asiaone.com 27 December 2009 "Targetting Problem Gambling Youth"
The IRs, with casinos, are going to open in 2010 in Singapore. The government is trying all its best to make sure that its citizens do not become addicted to gambling even though it wants to create another revenue stream for Singapore.
There is contradiction here for sure. On the one hand we are legalizing gambling in casinos, which is illegal otherwise, while on the other hand, trying to persuade people not to gamble or to become addicted to gambling knowing that gambling can easily developed into an addiction!!
Lessons for me are:
1. since the decision of opening casinos has been made and the debates that went on before the final decision were made had taken into account all the potential addictions, the potential damages and harms such addicted individual will bring to their families and loved ones and themselves, Singapore has no time for any more sentimental sad stories. It is pragmatism that rules. Get the revenue going and deal with addicts as and when they become so!!;
2. all these pubic education of the harms and destruction that will be brought to the addicts and their families are great for awareness creation. The most difficult part will be for the families and loved ones to STOP the gamblers who become addicted to recognize that they have crossed the line! This will absolutely involved TOUGH LOVE. i.e. no mercy for the addicts, zero tolerance, take the emotional element out whenever they plead for another chance to make back their money! This can only be done by the family and loved ones themselves. NO ONE can substitute that!!;
3. for those becoming addicted, hopefully these educational tips will help them recognize if they have crossed the line. If they have, they still have one chance to ask for help to be stopped. Ultimately, it is their decision to decide if they want to quit gambling. If they DO NOT want to, nobody can help them. The environmental temptation is there though they can be BARRED from the casinos under the current provision if their families or they themselves WRITE it to ask to be barred.
It will be interesting to see how many Singaporeans will become addicted and how many sad stories we will hear and witness over the next 12 months after the CASINOs (Or IRs) are opened for business in 2010!!
Hopefully, the benefits for the nation in terms of revenue generation far outweighed the cost of lives wrecked and properties and finances ruined!!
May uniquely Singapore can track these 2 numbers over the next 10 years every year!!