The numbers are in. According to the CCS (Credit Counseling Singapore) up to 27.8% of all bad debts in Singapore are gambling related. This figure is up from 23.9% a year ago.
Against the backdrop of a world economic slump, these figures have authorities a little concerned. With layoffs a certainty and a general decline in economic output on the cards, people are turning to casinos to reverse their fortunes. Some strike it rich, some don't.
Difficulties caused by stagnating wages and rising costs are luring people into casinos. They see the bright lights and big prospects as an easy way out of the economic quagmire.
Numbers of reckless gambling cases have risen, most notably for lower-income groups. Gambling is seen as a solution to economic problems, but some gamblers in Singapore are maxing out their credit cards trying to fund their habit. As of June 2008 there were some 1 million credit card holders in the island nation.
What concerns the CCS to a degree is that 40% of credit card holders have revolving credit. The numbers of bankruptcy filings have risen sharply. Up to 300 petitions were filed for the year as of July - more are expected as the world economic slump continues.
CCS provides hope
However it's not all doom and gloom. The casinos do provide work opportunities in an array of sectors like hospitality, leisure and tourism. Additionally, the CCS is working hard to help people to put together effective debt-management programs. Many are benefiting from work and the leisure activities of these casinos.