Exactly one month after I wrote about making a point to visit Singapore’s new casinos, I did just that.
Today, I made it to Marina Bay Sands (MBS), proving that it’s more accessible than the Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) casino. This despite the fact that i hold an Islander card and could travel free to the RWS casino. But to use the card, I have to drive to Vivocity first, park my car and then take the LRT to the casino.
With MBS, it’s just a 15-minute drive, park in its cavernous carpark and voila I am in, not the casino yet, but to take a gander first.
Bought and ate lunch, which proved the cheapest expenditure for the day at $5.50. That done, I started my hunt for the casino but with conflicting signs, i found myself twice at entrances which didn’t allow entry, with one of them hidden by hoardings, and eerily quiet.
It took much determination and a lot of footwork to find the main entrance and there, a series of discoveries quite shocked me –that is, if I’m to believe the Government’s determination to deter Singaporeans from gambling away all their savings.
- First, i discovered I could pay the $100 entrance levy for Singaporeans and permanent residents either by UOB credit card or Nets, in addition to cash. I naturally chose to pay by credit card and immediately I had $100 extra to gamble with than I intended.
- Second, contrary to what I thought, I had no need to ensure I carried enough cash to gamble. There at the entrance was a row of three ATMs: UOB, DBS and OCBC. Indeed, there was another row of ATM machines on the floor where food from self-service kiosks was sold. So, even if I had forgotten to bring cash, i could easily access my bank account. While that is very convenient, it is also very dangerous for the incurable gambler on a losing streak. Just tap, tap on his ATM till everything is gone!
Inside the casino, I made another shocking discovery. Smoking is allowed and everywhere were ash and dirty ash trays. It’s been so long since that I’ve encountered smoking in air-conditioned public premises, including private clubs, that it was like stepping back in time. I wonder how MBS managed to get dispensation from the Ministry of Health?
Still these shock discoveries were nothing compared to what I found as I drove out of the carpark after about four hours at MBS, half of them spent wondering around the complex.
My parking fees came up to $24 and wiped out almost half the value of my newly topped up cashcard.
If I make a return trip, I must plan everything better so that I will max out my entrance levy, stretch my gambling $ and take public transport! What i don’t need to do is visit an ATM be4hand!