50% fee hike at casinos remain undeterred to Singaporeans from slots and games
To keep problem gambling under control, the government in April 2019 have hiked fee at casinos. Now Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents will have to pay 50 per cent more to enter the casinos at the two local integrated resorts. The daily levy for Singaporeans and permanent residents will increase to S$150 from S$100 previously, while the annual levy will rise to S$3,000 from S$2,000.
The move comes amid plans by the gaming industry to expand their operations, with the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa committing around S$9 billion in non-gaming investments.
According to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Social and Family Development, the entry levy is a social safeguard to deter casual and impulse gambling by locals. In reviewing the entry fees, several factors were taken into consideration, including the problem gambling situation, household income levels and prices of alternative gambling locations in the region. Meanwhile, the authorities are also tightening the pre-payment and activation periods for the entry levy.
From August 2019, patrons will only be able to purchase a second daily or annual casino entry levy if the first one is expiring in six hours. The levy will be automatically activated after six hours of purchase.
Some players remain undeterred from playing slots and games
According the news by Straits Time, the players at Marina Bay Sands remain undeterred from playing slots and games.
Despite the higher fee, they still flock to the casinos. Of the 19 people whom The Straits Times spoke to outside the casinos at Resorts World Sentosa and MBS, aged 25 to 80, none welcomed the higher levies. Among them, 12 were women and seven were men, and 11 were Singaporeans or permanent residents (PRs).
Few older people who are over 80 years old who managed to escape the higher fees by renewing the annual pass before the new price kicked in visit the casino every morning to spend time and play slots. The new annual pass costs $3,000, up from $2,000, while the daily levy now is $150 instead of $100. For seniors this fee increase will affect as they are casual players who bet in small amounts.
But many remained undeterred by the fee increase and still willing to go for high stakes just to play slots and casino games.
Foreign players remain unaffected
The increase in hike apply only to Singaporeans and permanent residents and are intended to deter casual and impulse gambling by locals.
Both casinos the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World have received the green light to expand their gaming areas, by 2,000 sq m and 500 sq m respectively. The integrated resorts have indicated that the additional gaming provisions will be targeted at higher-tier non-mass market players, who are mainly tourists. Foreigners remain unaffected by the price hike as entry to the casinos is free for them.
Taxes on Casinos
Casinos face higher taxes in three years’ time, when the Government will take up to 22 per cent of their gross gaming revenue under a new tiered tax structure.
These changes come as both integrated resort (IR) operators announce their intentions to invest $9 billion into building new world-class attractions, such as a 15,000-seat entertainment arena and extensions to Universal Studios Singapore.
Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa now to expand their casino operations, and have had their exclusive rights to run a casino here renewed until the end of 2030. Currently, casinos are taxed 5 per cent of gross gaming revenue for premium gaming involving high-rolling patrons, and 15 per cent for mass gaming revenue.
These rates are locked in until February 2022, after which a new tiered tax structure with higher tax rates across both categories will take effect. The first $2.4 billion of premium gaming revenue will be taxed at 8 per cent, while anything above that amount will be taxed at 12 per cent. Meanwhile, the first $3.1 billion of mass gaming revenue will be taxed at 18 per cent, and the rest at 22 per cent.
Things to note
- Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents of Singapore must purchase and hold a valid Casino Entry Levy to enter the casino. To assist individuals who are required to purchase the Casino Entry Levy, Casinos would like to provide helpful information to ensure you are prepared for your visit to the casino.
- Types of Levy are 24 Hour Entry Levy and Annual Entry Levy
- Persons entering the casino must be 21 years or older. Singaporeans and Permanent Residents must pay the entry levy in order to be able to enter the casino. Singaporeans and Permanent Residents must use the “Singaporean / PR” designated lane to ENTER the casino. Singaporeans and Permanent Residents must use the “Singaporean / PR” designated lane to EXIT the casino.
- Any Singaporean and Permanent Resident who enters the casino without having a valid entry levy shall be liable to pay the entry levy plus be subject to a fine not greater than $1,000.
- Levy payments may be made by cash, NETS/direct debit or credit card only.
- All other patrons are considered Foreigners and must enter and exit using the lanes marked “Foreigner”.
- If asked, Foreigners must show an identification document to show they are not Singaporean or a Permanent Resident such as a foreign passport with short term immigration pass or work pass with a photo.
- Entry Levies paid are neither refundable nor transferable.
Singapore players wishing to seek help can call the National Council on Problem Gambling’s hotline on 1800-6-668-668.