Singapore has tightened advertising and promotions guidelines for the country’s two casinos in an attempt to ensure that its domestic market will not suffer the negative consequences of an addiction to gambling, Channel NewsAsia reports.

Singapore's casino. credit: The Star

From Channel NewsAsia,

Singapore authorities have tightened advertising and promotions guidelines for the country’s two casinos to ensure that they do not target the domestic market.

With immediate effect, the scope of the Casino Control (Advertising) Regulations will be expanded to cover promotions.

These refer to membership drives, rewards and loyalty programmes, as well as lucky draws and contests.

Previously, these were not covered under the law.

Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay Sands will now have to seek prior approval from the Community Development, Youth and Sports Ministry for all casino advertising and promotions.

These include interviews and media releases, as well as community sponsorship.

Casino advertising will also now cover merchandising, such as a T-shirt with a picture of a dice, or a mug with a picture of a roulette table.

The authorities have also made clear what is termed as “domestic market”.

They include not just Singapore citizens but also Permanent Residents and foreigners working and living in Singapore.

Operators who break the law will now be slapped with a fine of up to S$100,000.

Industry watchers welcomed the move, saying that any form of casino advertising does have an influence on a gambler and even a non-gambler.

Currently, one of the measures to deter Singaporeans from visiting the casinos is the Casino Entry Levy – where citizens have to pay S$100 to enter. The levy will expire after 24 consecutive hours from the time of the first entry into the casino. The annual levy is priced at S$2,000, which will expire after 12 consecutive months from the time of the first entry into the casino.

How does the marketer target just the foreign market in gambling advertisements? This seems rather inconceivable. By using foreigners instead of locals in the advertisements? But there are also foreigners living and working in Singapore that are part of the “domestic market” that cannot be targeted. Interviews and community sponsorships appear to be easier tools to impose stricter guidelines upon.

The takeaway is seemingly this: The casinos are not for you, Singaporeans (and those working in Singapore).