Wednesday, April 27, 2011

George Yeo supported the casino

Prime News
Mega boost likely: George Yeo306 words
15 April 2005
Straits Times
(c) 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Limited
A CASINO could provide a mega-boost to the economy, Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo said last night.
But, whatever the decision, no effort will be spared to minimise the social costs of gambling here, he added.
He was commenting on a survey which indicated that one in every 50 adult Singaporeans risked becoming problem gamblers.
Mr Yeo, as then-Trade and Industry Minister, first broached the casino idea in Parliament during the Budget debate last year.
Explaining the rationale for the proposal, he said last night: 'We are talking about millions of dollars' worth of investment, thousands of jobs and the possibility of increasing annual tourism inflow into Singapore by hundreds of thousands a year.'
He gave his comments to reporters at the launch of a poll for a Housing Board upgrading programme in Bedok. He was not surprised by survey results indicating that some 55,000 adult Singaporeans could become addicts.
'We know there are always problem cases that can lead to occasional family tragedies, whether or not there's a casino.'
People could, for instance, be addicted to horse-racing. 'So whether or not we proceed with this integrated resort, we should make sure we find ways to minimise the social costs.'
Measures could include barring those on public assistance schemes from a casino. Family members could also be empowered to prevent those with a gambling problem from entering casinos.
Still, admission procedures should be simple: 'We should also not make it so complicated that we create a bureaucracy to monitor who can enter the casino.'
As for his personal stand, he said: 'The Cabinet has taken a decision, so we will go by the collective decision.
'Of course, I announced it a year ago in Parliament... and the economic benefits are not trivial.'

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