Sunday, Jan 6, was a good friend’s 52nd birthday. I usually remember it but since her 50th in 2011, I have more reason to remember !
Because it was immediately after her 50th birthday lunch that I signed up for an anual pass to Marina Bay Sands, spending a cool $2,000 levy to buy myself an unlimited number of visits to the MBS casino
Yet I didn’t max out my full quota as I found out the other day when cleaning out one of the small purses in my handbag.
I stopped going to MBS from Sep 6, 2011! This was based on two cash-out tickets that I had allowed to expire — OK, one for all of 4 cents but the other was more substantial at $12+.
Reason: believe it or not, it was due to my being upgraded to a Gold Card membership. From where, it was all the way downhill.
I first did mental jigs of joy with the upgrading. As I got to eat at the Ruby Room in the Gold Members’ level as well as got to drink free wine. All detailed here.
But like all good things, there’s a downside and none so obvious as a continuing losing streak — not just at the machines in the Ruby Room’s premises but also at the machines among the hoi polloi downstairs. This despite the fact that among the hoi polloi downstairs, the bets were far smaller than in the Ruby Room.
Did my “luck” change? Or did I lose because some unseen computer was calculating my input and making sure that the sums would nudge me to the tables manned by humans or nudge me to pour more $ in?
OK, I’m not alleging that the MBS computers program players to lose but having played Bejewelled2 on and off, I’m always curious how I’m always able to get thru the first level but not beyond? Is it because Level 1 is easier, the odds better? Or is it to tempt players to go on?
In my MBS experience, be4 I became a gold card member I was at worst more or less even, not counting my entrance levy that G imposes on all Singaporeans n PRs.
At one point I was even confident I should make enough to cover my carpark fees — redeeming it with my play points — and win enough for the next annual fee. That confidence soon went down the ka-chink of the visits subsequent to my “upgrade” to the rarefied atmosphere of the Ruby Room.
Were the free food and wine (I liked the buffet and the free flow of wine, tho I never ate or drank a lot but being a true-blue Singaporean a free-feed always tastes better in the mind, anyway) not already paid for several times over at the end of the day when I lose $50, $100 or horrors $300+?
So as I lost more, my ardour for the MBS casino cooled distinctly — because I saw no point in a relationship that made me unhappy at the end of every visit and apprehensive at the start of another.
Quite different prior to June when the 1st few months after I signed up went like a dream. I looked forward to every visit confident that I would win something or, at worse, break even.
As a value-minded customer, I didn’t see why I should spend good money only to be made unhappy, repeatedly.
I stopped going.
MBS didn’t stop trying to get me to visit again. I got all sorts of promotional letters about shopping and shows which didn’t interest me since I didn’t go to the integrated resort to shop or view shows in the first instance.
MBS tried to lure me with reminders that points I had built up were about to expire. Well, I did go back once with some friends – to use up the free parking perks but none of us bothered even to go near the casino.
If every local resident player at MBS is like me, then G has no need to worry about raising the entry levy. Because by making us losers, MBS provides the natural and most effective barrier
Postscript: I probably went to MBS no more than 40 times in 2010, so the per entry levy worked out to about $50 on average. I also probably suffered a total net loss of $5K to $7K.
Not a huge sum in absolute terms but priceless for turning me off gambling at the casino — at least on this side of SG.
I’ve never been to Resorts World Sentosa, not for lack of lures. As a Genting shareholder, I was intially offered perks to sign up as a casino member. But I didn’t bite.
Even if I do eventually, it’s unlikely that I will want to spend as much time and money on something that I already know is a dead loss!