175,680 excluded from casinos

175,680 excluded from casinos

The number of people who are not allowed to enter Singapore's two casinos has reached a high of 175,680.

This is almost four times the 47,178 placed under exclusion orders in June 2011 - the first time such figures were released after the safeguard against problem gambling was introduced four years ago.

People can apply to have family members kept out. Individuals too may put themselves under self-exclusion orders if they think they are better off not being exposed to the temptations of gambling.

Latest figures from the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) show 130,556 people were under self-exclusion orders as of last month. Of this number, 118,672 - or about 90 per cent - are foreigners living or working here.

Some 43,565 - either undischarged bankrupts, those on financial aid schemes or with rental arrears - are automatically barred under third-party exclusion orders. The remaining 1,559 are on family exclusion orders.

Casino exclusion statistics are cumulative, which means they remain in force once gamblers are placed under them until they are revoked, which can only be done after a year.

The council has not disclosed how many people have applied to revoke the orders so far.

The NCPG and counsellors say the rising number of exclusion orders shows a growing awareness that such safeguards can help people avoid problem gambling.

"At the start, people didn't know where and how to apply for it but now a lot of gamblers are aware and they force themselves to get it as they know they are becoming addicted to gambling," said Ms Jolene Ong, executive director of The Silver Lining, which runs gambling rehabilitation programmes.

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