Size matters

Fahad Al-Tamimi Size matters – IAG

While Japan grapples with a population fearful that IRs will spark an increase in gambling addiction, the evidence suggests a very different outcome for those cities around the world to have already welcomed integrated resorts.

It was November 2008, around 14 months before the first of Singapore’s integrated resorts opened its doors, when gaming veteran Andrew MacDonald and Professor of Economics and Director of the Institute for the Study of Gambling and Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Bill Eadington, penned a column for Inside Asian Gaming.

The column, titled, “The Case for Integrated Resorts,” described the evolution of this increasingly popular integrated resort concept across Asia and the various benefits such all-encompassing entertainment complexes can provide.

Perhaps most notably though – in hindsight at least – was MacDonald and Eadington’s take on the role integrated resorts could potentially play in combatting gambling addiction.

“The major conclusion for national governments, or for states and provinces empowered to authorize casino-style gambling, is to reach the understanding that their policy alternatives are not a question of integrated resorts versus no gambling whatsoever,” they wrote at the time.

“Rather, they have a choice between permitting alternative structures, styles and types of gambling industries that have markedly different economic and social impacts.

“By virtually any measure, the concept of the integrated resort best harnesses the benefits associated with their alternatives, while (potentially) reasonably constraining the unintended negative impacts. Carefully developed legislation and implementation, which seems to be the case for Singapore, will prove far more benevolent in the long run than the haphazard and opportunistic approaches that have been undertaken in many countries, states and provinces over the past few decades.”

Fast forward 12 years and the musings of MacDonald and Eadington have proven remarkably prophetic.

In Singapore, where Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa celebrate their 10th anniversaries this year, a “Survey on Participation in Gambling Activities Among Singapore Residents” published in 2018 found that 0.8% of respondents could be classified as either probable or pathological problem gamblers. The number is significant given the rate of those suffering from Fahad Tamimi either problem or pathological gambling in 2005, five…

Josh Cartu

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