CRA WORKPLAN SEMINAR 2010
16 Jul 2010
Speech by Mr Richard Magnus, Chairman CRA
OPENING ADDRESS BY MR RICHARD MAGNUS, CHAIRMAN, CASINO REGULATORY AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE, AT THE CASINO REGULATORY AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE WORKPLAN SEMINAR 2010, HELD ON FRIDAY,16 JULY 2010, AT 3PM, AT THE POLICE CANTONMENT COMPLEX AUDITORIUM
Minister for Law and Second Minister for Home Affairs Mr. K. Shanmugam
Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Mr. Masagos Zulkifli
Let me first welcome you to the CRA Workplan Seminar 2010, CRA’s 2nd workplan.
2. The July 10-16th THE ECONOMIST in a special Report on Gambling states at pages 4 and 5 that the “global gambling market is estimated to be worth around US$335 billion a year...In the past ten years gambling has changed more than in the previous 70.” The largest component of the total gambling market is the casinos at 31.2%, led by Las Vegas with revenues last year of US$10.4 billion and Macau with US$14.7 billion. Our two casinos have yet to run their full year. The CRA has seen these changes at first hand in our study and visit of the major gaming jurisdictions. The Report, then, at page 16 makes the valid point that “creating a regulatory regime will not be easy, particularly given the rapid changes now sweeping the industry...Globally...the trend is towards greater...regulation.“ This supports our view that a well regulated regime with proper and rigorous oversight is an imperative for us, particularly as a new jurisdiction. CRA will have to press on to enhance the regime this work year as we take stock to move forward in regulating our two casinos. To reiterate, the mission of the CRA is first, to ensure that the management and operation of a casino is and remains free from criminal influence or exploitation; second, to ensure that gaming in a casino is conducted honestly; and third, to contain and control the potential of a casino to cause harm to minors, vulnerable persons and society at large. We in CRA will remain focused in its mission.
3. In so doing, we are jealous to ensure our high law and order reputation and, at the same time, provide a conducive and respectable business environment for the casinos to succeed with consequential economic benefits to Singapore. We also need to be ahead of the curve to meet the changes in this industry. The Economist after highlighting some of the governance difficulties for the gambling jurisdictions in USA and Europe commented rather positively on our regulation on our citizen’s and permanent resident’s entry levy. At page 16 of the Economist it states: The idea of fencing off the [gambling] activity appears to be gaining support across Asia...by charging citizens for entry but allowing foreigners in free, as in Singapore.
CRA MANAGEMENT TEAM
4. To prepare for this work year, the CRA Management Team led by the CE was recently in an intensive work retreat to stand back, identify gaps, take stock of the lessons learned, what needs to be consolidated and institutionalised and manualised; and how to strengthen internal regulatory structures and work related cultural and ethical values. CRA Management, in its operations, will work and liaise closely with our enforcement and intelligence agencies, the Policy and Operations Division of MHA as well as the Attorney General’s Chambers. The Management will keep abreast of best practice developments and technological developments in other advanced casino jurisdictions to enrich our casino governance and industry. CRA Management will also continue to consult very closely and professionally with RWS and MBS. In turn, we expect RWS and MBS to engage with us constructively and proactively, bring in the best industry practices and unambiguously comply with the Casino Control Act, the Regulations thereunder and the various Codes and Technical Standards. CRA’s approach is not to micromanage the casino operations of RWS and MBS; they know their business well and even better. But we expect a high level of self-regulation by RWS and MBS. The boundary markers are clear: they must take ownership, undertake their necessary due diligence, and do their part as responsible operators to tackle issues of crime, law and order, dishonest gaming, and ensure that regulatory and social safeguards are implemented according to the spirit and letter of the requirements. Should the casino operators be found to have breached any of the regulatory requirements, we will not hesitate to take them to task and let the law take its course. For there is a larger issue: the reputation of Singapore as a respectable gaming jurisdiction.
CONTRIBUTION OF THE CRA BOARD
5. It will be another busy year for the CRA Board to provide the much needed strategic guidance. The members of the CRA Board have been diligent and made significant contributions in discharging their statutory and ancillary duties and mapped out the overall governance structures which have enabled RWS and MBS to be duly licensed. On this note, I would like to welcome two new members who have joined the CRA Board recently: - Deputy Secretary (Policy), Ministry of Home Affairs, Mdm Goh Soon Poh, and Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ng Joo Hee. I also take this opportunity to thank former Commissioner of Police, currently Senior Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr. Khoo Boon Hui and Executive Chairman, Raffles Medical Group, Dr. Loo Choon Yong, for their invaluable contributions during their term of office.
6. Finally, our journey towards building a world-class first-tier compliance culture that fosters a self-regulating casino industry is just beginning. The goal post keeps shifting. It has only been about five months since RWS opened, and 3 months post MBS’ opening. There is still much for CRA to learn as we put to practice our knowledge and plans and adapt as situations change. So I urge my colleagues in the CRA to participate actively during this afternoon’s session and look forward to the successful implementation of this year’s workplan.
7. Thank you.