"If we proceed, the IRs [integrated resorts, politically correct term for shopping malls + rides + casino] may not succeed, or the social fallout may be worse than we expect. If we do not proceed, we are at serious risk of being left behind by other cities. After weighing the matter carefully, the Cabinet has collectively concluded that we had no choice but to proceed with the IRs. As Prime Minister, I carry the ultimate responsibility for the decision."I have a problem with that. Why is this casino so important for the continual survival of Singapore? Do tourists really look at whether a country has a casino before planning their itinerary? (I know I don't!) How big is this market anyway? I'd love to see some numbers. Also, he says 'we have no choice'. If that is indeed true, then gosh, I think we're in really big trouble here! If really no choice, haiz, no need consult anyone already lah! 越快建起来越好！ Something smells fishy, and it ain't the chips. I fear we may be paying the price for not being good gamblers; we might have just lost the first round of poker with the big gaming companies...
Thursday, April 21, 2005
The casino issue is really just a big poker game between the government and the gaming companies
Hui Chieh is calling for papers from the local blogsphere on reactions to the casino issue over at Singapore Angle. Do take a look if you want to contribute your thoughts. Here's what I think. Personally, I don't mind the lifting of the ban on casinos. I do know for a fact that because of the existence of a casino, many families would be hurt, the social and personal cost can't be quantified; monetary value or otherwise. However, from a public policy point of view, I would not object against a casino, per se. For example, we do know for a fact that if we ban cars on the road, there will be less people getting killed on the roads. Despite this, we don't ban cars. The problem I have is that MM Lee's press release seems to suggest that the government is in the defensive, rather then being in offence. He stressed that "we cannot afford not to have the casino". That's a reactive position. (For non-Singaporean readers, MM stands for Minister Mentor. MM Lee is the founder of modern Singapore who currently runs a mentorship program for new ministers.) What led him to say that? Well, he mentioned that in the 19 proposals that were received, the foreign gaming firms did say that they aren't just going to be only interested in Singapore. Like it or not, they're going to set up shop in neighbouring countries. If you don't agree to our proposals, you'll become an also-ran when the neighbouring casinos are built. Essentially, this whole setup is like poker. The gaming companies have uped the ante very cleverly. Here're our cards. Do you wanna fold? Or do you wanna call our bluff? And we decide to call their bluff! To be fair, there's nothing wrong with that, if indeed it's justified. But the negativity and lack of confidence disturbs me. Prime Minister Lee (for non-Singaporean readers, the PM has the surname as MM Lee because he's his son) says,"
Posted by jeffyen at 7:50 PM