Saturday, September 11, 2010

Is this an impetuous or knee-jerk reaction?

Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) had already decided to stop its shuttle bus services to the heartland areas at 11 pm on Sunday 12-9-10 and the directive from the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) for both the RWS and Marina Bay Sands (MBS) to stop their services abruptly in the early Friday afternoon is mind-boggling. The decision appeared to have been made impetuously by the CRA as it gives the public the impression of fluster at the top (including the MCYS Minister) over what adverse effect this problem could have on the PAP's election prospects if left doing nothing about it. There was apparently no thinking through on what consequences such abrupt stoppage of the shuttle services could have on the heartlanders, the bus operators and the fate of the hundreds of staff (including drivers) who will become jobless. Almost all the buses were newly bought with banking loans and the owners are now in a fix as to what to do with their buses and how they are going to service their loans.

Long before RWS was opened, the company had already planned to include shuttle bus services to the IR. This was with a view to encouraging car owners to use the shuttle services to the IR, thus not contributing to traffic congestion. The other objective is to provide free transport services to heartlander families to visit the IR as a form of requittal to society. There are amenities like the Universal Studios theme park, numerous shops and food outlets in RWS for the enjoyment of the families. They make it a family outing taking advantage of the convenience of the shuttle bus services. Now a so-called benevolent government has with a stroke of the pen deprived these deserving families of the enjoyment of the attractive amenities in RWS. Does the PAP government believe that such impetuous action will endear it to these families?

Is it logical to contend that prospective gamblers would take advantage of the free shuttle bus services to visit the casinos which would save them only a few dollars when a hefty $100 entry fee does not present any deterrence? They would still be visiting the casinos even without the free shuttle bus services. So just because of some misplaced notion on the part of the relevant authorities, heartlanders are deprived of the means of bringing their families on enjoyable outings to RWS.

Perhaps it may occur to our enterprising functionaries that depriving would-be gamblers of the free means of trnasport would not deter them from visiting casinos. There are already measures in place such as education to rehabilitate Singaporean gamblers to get them to eschew their gambling habits. Maybe the answer is to re-inforce these measures with more innovative ideas and not to look for fall guys to justify some bizarre action. Anyway, inveterate gamblers are a lost cause.

3 comments:

Gary said...

Mr Siew,

What kept me away from the IRs is not only because I don't gamble but also because IMO the other attractions cost too much.

If a family can afford to visit the other attractions, making its way there on a bus/train/car is but a small costs and issue. IMO by providing 'free' bus shuttles to and from the IRs, the operators are obviously expecting a windfall from all these heartland folks who may not otherwise go on their own accord (which would be a blessing in disguise since entry prices are high if not exorbitant, esp. in the case of an extended family visit.)

I don't believe the IR operators, as businessmen, were doing it out of kindness and altruism, as they don't owe the heartland folks a living. I would liken the free shuttle as helping to bring sheep to the slaughter!!!

It is also strange that while hawkers at Newton are not allowed to tout, the IRs provision of a shuttle service from more than a dozen pickup points island-wise is viewed differently. A rose by any name really.

By the way, I am no PAP admirer and dead against the casinos.

lxcid said...

In reply to Mr Gary,

I can understand your detest against gambling. I myself don't gamble and dislike gambling.

But as Mr Siew mentioned, and I agree to his points, preventing the shuttle bus service is not going to stop gambler from gambling.

Shuttle bus service is not uncommon practices. Great World City, Liang Court and many shopping centres provide them. Just outside of Dohby Ghaut MRT on weekends would have many shuttle bus service operating that will bring you to different part of the city.

RWS is a business, and because their main source of income is casino, providing shuttle service take a whole different perspective for other people. But lets not forget they run not just a casino, but also a theme park attraction and shopping areas. Sentosa is a recreation area where there's other attractions built before RWS. A shuttle bus service I believe can do good to the business in Sentosa, which include RWS. But my take is rather than doing good for their casino business, it will do more good for their theme park attraction and shopping.

While definitely I don't denied having shuttle service does make it easier for gambler to gamble. I don't see how this add up to advocating gambling. If someone is willing to part with 100 dollar before he actually gamble. How would a few more dollars deter him from gambling?

Or how would saving a few dollar encourage a person who is penny wise, or wouldn't part with 100 dollar for nothing, encourage them from gambling? Some people would feel a squeeze in the pocket if they were to paid close to 70 for a ticket of USS. If its a couple, it would cost them 140. The transport cost to Sentosa can cost around 3 dollar for entry fee plus 2 dollar, easily a Macdonald meal. I believe these people loses more relative to the gambler who I believe lose close to none where if they were to pay 100 dollar in, they will be expecting to win more than 100 dollar. and so such money they would not have eyed on.

I felt more sympathetic to the genuine bus operators, who spent but are now left with a big debts. When they have no real fault in all this thing.

Gary said...

You know the saying:

掛羊頭,賣狗肉

to hang a sheep's head while selling dog meat (idiom); to cheat / dishonest advertising / wicked deeds carried out under banner of virtue.

That's sums up nicely the position of the IRs and its other attractions. Furthermore, the other attractions are also not moderately priced. Do you find the IRs subsidizing the cost of entry to the other attractions? No.

Did you not read about the mind boggling profits reaped by Genting at its Sentosa casino?