Monday, April 16, 2012

The Levy Revenue

I met a friend recently who expressed amazement at Singaporeans. You see, the man had recently went into the casino at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) for the first time and was shocked at how many Singaporeans were in there.

As many of you recall, when Singaporeans enter the 2 casinos at MBS and Resort World Sentosa (RWS), we need to pay a $100 entry fee. As I know they call it a “levy” but an entry fee is what it is. This was designed to lower the number of Singaporeans who enter the casino.

On that, it has been an abject failure. Singaporeans are entering the casino without a second thought to the entry fee. My friend was amazed the entry fee did not work. I’m not.

Similarly put; when you can a casino, chances are you are going to lose. Even the most positive of gamblers is mentally prepared to lose a few hundred to a few thousand dollars there. What’s a $100 compared to that? Hell, some people consider the levy the cost of doing business!

If you look at the levy that way, it’s no surprise it failed to defer Singaporeans from entering the casinos. Those guys at MBS and RWS know it too which is why they agreed to the levy in the first place. Why not? All the levy does is to create a new source of revenue for them.


Anonymous said...

Not sure how your friend identifies Singaporeans among the gamblers. May be Malaysians, especially with RWS daily shuttle buses from Malaysia. Anyway, agree with you that $100 levy is not much a deterrent. Perhaps many local gamblers pay the $2000 yearly levy for limitless entries, so that is even less of a deterrence. And worse, believe this levy cannot be changed for many years due to contractual terms with MBS/RWS. Btw, the levy goes to govt, not MBS/RWS. Only govt can collect levy, no one else.

Ghost said...

I didn't know that. If the government is the one collecting the levy, then we can all forget about it going away. It's a cash cow for them.
Knowing the Singaporeans among the punters there is easy. You can just see the line at the entrance for Singaporeans and listen to the way they speak. Singlish is quite common in there.