Photo of Tan Chuan Jin from CNA

Volunteer organisations in Singapore are seeing cases of problem gambling rising rapidly, with one of them seeing new cases doubled. Blessed Grace Gamblers Recovery Centre posted on its website revealing that they saw 207 new cases seeking help from them in 2015, more than doubled the 89 cases in 2014. The National Addictions Management Service under the Institute of Mental Health saw a 26% increase from financial year FY2013 to FY2014, there is no statistics provided on 2015.

These statistics will likely worsen as the Singapore government just legalised online gambling to increase tax revenues and gambling profits for two state-owned gambling houses, Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club.

Just last month (Nov 2016), Blessed Grace Social Services blasted the Singapore government for legalising online gambling and disregarding the social costs of easing access to gambling.

The Singapore government is however adamant on collecting the lucrative revenues which could amount to S$1 billion a year. Minister of Social and Family Affairs Tan Chuan Jin claimed that gambling through the government-owned companies is “safe”, “managed” and “controlled”.

Singapore’s only elected Opposition Party, Workers’ Party, condemned the ruling party government but the law was passed as the ruling party have an overwhelming majority.

Read: Minister Desmond Lee: Show me evidence that banning online gambling is no good