Casino exclusion: bosses should take lead

… if not, they shouldn’t stick their noses where it’s none of their business.

I wonder if the breaking news story (see below) that appeared in this morning’s Straits Times online about one top stock-broking firm, UOBKayhian, suggesting to its staff to ban themselves from the two casinos here could be true.

If true, by what misguided authority has the brokerage acted thus? Have the chairman, chief executive and the whole board already excluded themselves from the casinos?

If not, why pick on the staff and management? Hyprocritical and patronising on the part of those who dreamed up the move and socially divisive for the rest of the company employees targetted!

If it’s not a case of paternalism going overboard, I don’t know what is.

Instead, of trying to coerce its own staff, the big guns at UOBK would do better social service by starting a movement to make it difficult for work permit holders to enter the casinos as they form the group least able to afford to lose money.

The unfortunate outcome of our casino laws make it free and easy for holders of foreign passports to enter the casinos. Of course the intention was — and still is — to make it attractive for tourists. But the levy-free entry for tourists overlooked that one in three workers in Singapore are foreigners like the tourists.

Sure, some of these workers are also permanent residents and, like citizens, are caught by the $100 levy barrier. But the majority aren’t and waste their mighty hard earned $ hoping to win.

I cite two instances when I was at Marina Bay Sands on Friday (Jan 7) where I swear that twice I sat next to work permit holders at the slot machines.

I played 1-cent and two-cent machines. So did these. But the difference ended there.

my winning mistake!

My rule is that I should play wisely and slowly.  When I mistakenly made 100 bets X 5 cts (thinking I was making a $1 bet, because I wrongly thought a 5-cent machine was a 1-cent machine) and won big, I moved away immediately, both shocked by the amount I had wagered and elated by the $500+ I won.

Not so these foreign workers.

i won; my neighbor lost

One next to me at a 2-cent machine was pulling out painfully $10 note after $10 from the pocket of tattered jeans to feed an unresponsive machine. It was painful to watch him out of the corner of my eye. As my machine paid quite handsomely, it seemed to encourage him to try doubly hard. I made 30 2-cent bets; he made 60 2-cent bets! I had to move away.

1-cent winner

At  a 1-cent machine, two foreign workers were playing a single machine. While I made 25 1-cent bets, they were making 300 1-cent bets. Thankfully, both our machines paid; theirs in 6-figure credits; mine in low 4-digit figures. Still, I didn’t hang around to see if their fortunes would reverse, as I’m certain they would.

The point is whether foreign workers on relatively low pay and with impoverished families back home should be given easy exposure to the roller coaster of big losses and big wins? What happens if they lose their shirts, pants and all? More Kallang attacks?

Do we want more crime because the Government failed to properly think thru the consequences of letting all foreign passport holders levy-free access to the casinos?

That’s the real issue which should be exercising the minds of the high-minded anti-gambling lobby, not fussing about bus rides from the heartlands! Or at least worry about the work permit holders first and then perhaps the heartland uncles and aunties at another time!

UOB Kay Hian urges casino exclusion for staff
By Carolyn Quek & Jermyn Chow

EYEBROWS have been raised after local brokerage firm UOB Kay Hian sent a memo to some of its staff to recommend self-exclusion from the two casinos here.

The internal memo, sent out last month, asked staff to indicate their decision and explain why. The decision to self-exclude, however, was purely voluntary.

It is understood the memo was sent to department heads of the firm, who then hand-circulated it to other employees. Decisions made by each employee could be seen by his or her colleagues.

When contacted, a UOB Kay Hian spokesman declined comment. But employees who got the memo said they were mostly surprised or amused.

One employee, who did not want to be named, said that everyone in her department had indicated they would not apply for the self-exclusion order.

Reasons indicated ranged from how it was their right to go to the casino to them not having a gambling problem.

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3 thoughts on “Casino exclusion: bosses should take lead

  1. Dear Auntie Lucia, I really worry for these foreign workers who appear to be “hooked” already on gambling by the way they are playing the casino machines.

  2. Pingback: Daily SG: 13 Jan 2011 « The Singapore Daily

  3. Yup, LW, but the three I observed may be the exception. Who knows? The irony is that we are worrying about the Singaporean poor, quite forgetting the foreign poor working within our shores. Mayb the Govt should just make all who live in S’pore, local or foreign, workers and just living here as dependents, pay the $100 levy just like S’poreans and PRs?

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