S’poreans remain second-biggest gamblers in the world

The casino at Resorts World Sentosa. Photo: Channel NewsAsia
Data show losses incurred per adult resident in Republic last year lower than in 2010
Published: 4:04 AM, February 6, 2014
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SINGAPORE — Singaporeans are still the second-biggest gamblers in the world, but the latest statistics from a British gambling consultancy indicate that losses incurred per adult resident here have fallen from three years ago.

The average adult resident in the Republic lost €680 (S$1,189) last year, down from €822 (worth S$1,451 at the time) in 2010, according to H2 Gambling Capital.

Almost half the amount last year was lost in casinos, with the remainder going to lotteries, non-casino gaming machines, betting and offshore gaming websites.

Last year’s numbers were published on news magazine The Economist’s website on Monday and showed Singapore ranking second behind Australia in terms of gambling losses per adult resident.

Total gambling losses incurred by Singapore, which include losses by tourists and other visitors here, amounted to S$9.9 billion.

Ten countries including the United States, China, Japan and Britain racked up bigger gambling losses, with the US coming up tops at US$119 billion (S$151.1 billion).

Explaining why Singapore ranked second for gambling losses per resident adult, H2’s founder Simon Holliday cited the highly legalised and regulated industry here as a factor, in addition to the relatively high propensity to gamble and easy access to most forms of gambling.

“I’d think there are much higher rates of gambling in other Asian countries but it’s not regulated. This is why Singapore comes out high on this list,” he told TODAY.

“Singapore is probably the only Asian country where you actually get a realistic assessment of what people are actually gambling on.”

When tourists and visitors’ gambling losses are taken into account, the losses incurred per adult here is S$1,964, said Mr Holliday.

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