Thursday, April 21, 2005

Reactions to the casino decision 

Huichieh at From a Singapore Angle is compiling the reactions of bloggers on the casino/integrated resort decision.

Call for entries--Web Symposium: Blogosphere reactions to the Casino/Integrated Resort decision 2005
Nowadays, it’s hard to find someone in Singapore without an opinion about the proposed Casino/Integrated Resort. Even those who are really without an opinion find themselves oblidged to say that they don’t have an opinion, as if the contrary is the default.

In the interest of furthering discussion on this issue of the day, From A Singapore Angle is organising a Web Symposium and inviting all interested bloggers to submit entries that will be collated together (roughly in a manner analogous to this, but voluntarily). By having many points of view gathered together under one list, the hope is that the netizens’s search for information and informed opinions will be facilitated.

Entries published both during the pre-decision debate and after the decision was announced in parliament are welcomed.
And some entries are already in — see here.

Meanwhile, The Christian Science Monitor has its own reaction to the decision in a report entitled “In search of buzz, Asia bets on gambling”.

Dazzled by the prospect of soaring tax revenues and an influx of free-spending tourists, Asian governments are starting to drop their bans against casino gambling.

Singapore became the latest country to join the race for Asia’s gamblers when it announced Monday that it would license two resort casinos in the wealthy city-state. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told Parliament that it had to keep up with the trend. “We cannot stand still. The whole region is on the move. If we don’t change, where will we be in 20 years?”

Spying an opportunity, Thailand, Taiwan, and Japan may follow suit. Even India and Indonesia have floated the idea of Vegas-style casinos to draw tourists and create jobs. For many, the ultimate prize is China, where would-be gamblers, faced with a ban at home, travel far and wide to bet their newfound riches...
The Singapore government clearly recognises the opportunity. But so does everybody else. Note the following concluding paragraphs from the Monitor report.

But the claim that casinos can revitalize tourist industries shouldn’t be taken at face value, says Ms. [Jan] McMillen, [director of the Center for Gambling Research at the Australian National University, in Canberra] who has studied Australia’s experience. Its first casino opened on the island of Tasmania in 1973 and proved a success that other areas replicated, ending the novelty factor. The result was a short-term boom in tax revenues that bottomed out, leaving a rash of gambling addicts and a social backlash. A similar trend emerged in New Zealand, which also found minimal impact on tourism.

Both countries have since backpedaled. “It’s fascinating to look at the rest of the world and wonder if they’ve learned from our experience,” says McMillen.
Some things have changed since the 1970s. For example, there’s a new market in China. Other things have not — the human being’s gambling instinct and the effect of competition.

It’ll be interesting to see which trumps which.


I'll be most honored if you would submit this post and others to the symposium as well. (Or, if you give me permission, I'll trawl your blog myself.)


Please feel free to take anything you want from this blog.

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