Tuesday, July 10, 2012

S$195m in casino entry levies collected in 2011

SINGAPORE: The Singapore government collected S$195 million in casino entry levies last year.

S$93 million has been collected so far, in the first six months of this year.

As part of social safeguard measures, Singaporeans and Permanent Residents must pay a levy of S$100 a day or S$2,000 a year, for entry to Singapore's casinos.

Responding to a question in Parliament on Tuesday, Minister of State for Finance, Josephine Teo said the casino entry levies are collected by the Singapore Totalisator Board (Tote Board).

It's used for social and charitable purposes.

She added that the Tote Board does not specifically ring-fence the casino entry levies to fund measures to contain gambling ills.

Ms Teo said measures to contain gambling ills are funded separately.

MP for Jurong GRC Ang Wei Neng said: "If MBS earnings for the rest of the year is as strong as the first quarter this year, the total accumulated profits in terms of EBITA (a company's earnings before the deduction of interest, tax and amortisation expenses), will reach or exceed S$5 billion by the end of this year. This means MBS would have recovered all its initial investment of S$5 billion in less than three years."

Ms Teo said: "Yes, the casino operators have made more money, but at the same time, they've contributed to our tax revenues and through these tax revenues, the government is able to provide support to many Singaporeans in many areas and expand our resources in terms of care for Singaporeans."

She said since 2009, the government has more than doubled its expenditure on containing gambling ills, from S$3.8 million in FY09 to S$9 million in FY11.

Some key initiatives include the establishment of the National Council of Problem Gambling (NCPG), which administers casino exclusion, provides advice to the government on how to address problem gambling, and implements public education programmes to address problem gambling.

The government also provides grants to Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs), such as Family Service Centres, to defray the cost of counselling services that the VWOs provide to problem gamblers.

Separately, Ms Teo said in tandem with the profitability of the two integrated resorts, the government has also been collecting more taxes from them.

Ms Teo said the net increase in tax revenues from the two integrated resorts - Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa - in 2010 was S$900 million.

And in 2011, the figure was S$1.1 billion.

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