A self-exclusion program in Singapore that makes it possible for gamblers to ban themselves from gambling avenues is not doing as well as planned. The scheme started in May 2014 and till December, less than 700 people had applied to participate in the program. The scheme was first introduced so that gamblers could stop themselves from entering the casinos at Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa.
The self-ban scheme
The scheme in its original form included just the two casinos. But from May 2014 other gambling avenues were brought into its fold. These were sports betting places, jackpot clubs and small social clubs. Now places like Resorts World Sentosa are huge establishments and including them in the ban is a great way to help people with gambling problems to stay away from the glamour of such casinos. But bringing in smaller establishment into its fold was an excellent move that would go a long way in curbing gambling problems. But the numbers of signups say a different story.
The problems in the scheme
The low number of signups has worried the welfare organisations who work with gamblers. Thousands of people gamble in small clubs and gambling venues and there are not even 1000 citizens to take advantage of the scheme. This is even lower than the numbers of signups for self-exclusion in 2010 when the first casino in Singapore opened for business in 2010.
Authorities say that it is not possible to track the ban in small retail outlets where problem gamblers could send others in their stead to purchase tickets.
Another problem is that he scheme doesn’t cover all gambling establishments and at some places there is no ban on physical gambling. Still welfare organisations applaud the scheme and find it useful for gamblers who really struggle with the addiction.