The casino entry levies for Singaporeans and permanent residents visiting the two integrated resorts (IRs) will increase by 50 per cent and take effect at midnight on Thursday (4 April), the authorities said on Wednesday.
The daily entry levy will rise to $150 from $100 currently while the annual entry levy will increase to $3,000 from $2,000, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Social and Family Development in a joint statement.
While local visitorship to the casinos at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) has fallen significantly over the last decade, the authorities said the levy revision is among the measures to keep problem gambling under control.
The probable problem and pathological gambling rate has dropped from 2.6 per cent when the IRs first opened to 0.9 per cent in 2017, according to a survey by the National Council on Problem Gambling.
The levy revision comes as the government agreed to extend the exclusivity period for the two casinos to end-2030.
MBS and RWS also announced that they have committed $9 billion to build tourism and MICE facilities and attractions. The IR expansions will create up to 5,000 new jobs directly.
Among the new attractions, MBS will add a new fourth tower adjacent to its current three towers. There will be a 15,000-seater entertainment area and a luxury all-suite hotel with 1,000 rooms and a sky roof. The MICE space for hosting exhibitions and conventions will also be expanded.
RWS will build two new attractions at the Universal Studios Singapore – Minion Park and Super Nintendo World. It will also build two new destination hotels, enlarge its S.E.A. Aquarium and redevelop its Waterfront Promenade.
In line with the expansion, the casino tax rates to be imposed on the two IRs will increase for both premium gaming and mass gaming. Currently, the tax rate for premium gaming is 5 per cent while the tax rate for mass gaming is 15 per cent.
“The IRs have enriched our tourism offerings and enhanced our position as a global city for business and leisure tourism. Their commitment to significant new investments reflects their strong confidence in Singapore’s long-term tourism prospects,” said Keith Tan, Chief Executive of Singapore Tourism Board.