Higher entrance levies haven’t stopped rich Singaporeans or those just feeling lucky from flocking to the country’s only two casinos.
The city-state has received about S$1.3 billion ($954 million) in entrance fees from citizens and permanent residents since 2010 even as tourists are allowed to enter for free, Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo said in response to a question in parliament Monday.
Levies for Singaporeans and permanent residents to enter either Resorts World Sentosa or the more glitzy Marina Bay Sands were raised to S$150 a day, or S$3,000 a year, last month. That’s up from S$100 and S$2,000. Singapore initially introduced the charges to deter locals from gambling.
“The daily and annual entry levies serve to deter casual and impulse gambling by locals and are part of a holistic suite of social safeguards,” Teo said. “Between 2010 and 2018, the number of local visitors to the casinos declined by 50 percent.”
Singapore said last month it would extend the exclusive licenses for the two casino operators until 2030 after they pledged to invest S$9 billion in additional tourism attractions.