Thursday, July 2, 2009

Singapore Casino's Watchdogs sharpen teeth

By Carolyn Quek & Kimberly Spykerman
Symposium participants from the Casino Regulatory Authority and the Criminal Investigation Department learning first-hand how an electronic poker table works. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN

IN SIX months or so, the jackpot machines in the two casinos in Singapore will start pealing, and gamblers will be in town.

But groundwork has been laid to get both man and system to keep the fun clean - and ready to act if it does not stay that way.

The latest initiative was a two-day training symposium held in the Police Cantonment Complex that began on Wednesday.

This was for the over 200 officers from the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to pick the brains of those in the industry who have 'been there, done that'.

These old hands in casino operations, regulations and enforcement from the United States, Australia and Macau are here to talk about organised crime and money laundering. They will also tell of what criminal syndicates get up to, and importantly, how to smoke them out and cripple their operations.

CRA chief executive T. Raja Kumar said the authorities here have a lot to learn, with the gaming industry being new, and there is not a lot of time in which to do so.

Minister for Law and Second Minister for Home Affairs K. Shanmugam noted that the CRA and CID have made good progress so far.

For example, the CRA is putting the final touches on its regulatory regime, which will require, for example, key casino employees, associates and junket operators to be screened.

Anti-fraud measures that go beyond that required by the CRA are also likely to be in place by the casinos' opening day: For example, all cards in play will be mechanically shuffled; after each game of baccarat, the cards will be destroyed, since players would have had a chance to mark them; and slot-machine winnings will be paid in bar-coded vouchers instead of tokens for greater security.

And if all these moves do not keep things on the straight and narrow in the Marina Bay integrated resort (IR) and the police need to be called in, they will be nearby - in the new Marina Bay neighbourhood police centre (NPC). The Sentosa IR will be overseen by the existing Bukit Merah West NPC.

The Straits Times.


Sentosa Theme Park Blog is an unofficial site and NOT in any way affiliated with the Resorts World at Sentosa or Universal Studios Singapore. For more information go to If you have any question or suggestions for the site write to Photos taken by Sentosa Theme Park Blog are copyrighted please do not use without the permission from Sentosa Theme Park Blog.