Location of betting outlets needs review

SINGAPORE - I refer to the report on "CPIB assistant director charged with criminal breach of trust" (BT, July 25) .

The officer involved in this case was reported to have spent a considerable amount of monies at the Marina Bay Sands Casino (MBS). Further to this case, there are reports to tighten the admission criteria for civil servants.

Restricting adults from gaining entry to a facility may probably be a delayed reaction. A detailed study of gambling addiction has to be conducted to identify when this behaviour is induced in an individual.

Take some Singapore supermarkets, specifically NTUC supermarkets: many of the outlets have a section where you can gamble in 4-D, Toto, etc. An impressionable and growing adult who accompanies his/her mother to NTUC would have the following observation: it is acceptable and maybe a fact of daily life to "invest" a small amount of money in buying a 4-D Draw or Toto on a weekly basis.

Impressionable youngsters once they have funds available, will be induced to "invest" a small amount of their salary in the hope of striking it rich.

This habit of gambling in 4-D and Toto can lead to bigger stakes once there is an opportunity, ie MBS and where there is a source of funds available. The widespread exposure in the heartlands of our younger generations to gambling in the form of 4-D and Toto, needs a thorough review. Gambling outlets should only be situated in restricted areas, not in supermarkets where young and impressionable children accompany their parents.

Manmohan Singh


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