Pages

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cut off ‘loans to gambling addicts’

What I can say here is that there are ways and means that a gambler can resort to, or go around with. But don't get me wrong. I believe this is one way to "stop", put an end to what feeds the gambler's addiction. So go ahead...

-----

SOCIAL PROBLEM

A PROBLEM gambler may be barred from entering a casino but as long as he has the money, he will find other ways to indulge in his habit.

That is why the key to controlling a person’s gambling addiction is to cut off his access “to loans which are feeding his addiction”, said Mr Kuo How Nam, president of the Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS). It is a non-profit organisation which helps debtors work out instalment plans to pay off their debts.

Mr Kuo was responding to an announcement by the National Council on Problem Gambling that immediate families of problem gamblers can start applying for the Family Exclusion Orders to bar them from entering the casinos at Singapore’s upcoming two integrated resorts.

Mr Kuo said this measure “hardly addresses the problem of gambling addiction as there are already opportunities galore for gamblers to indulge in their addiction”.

According to Mr Kuo, the number of debt distressed individuals coming to the CCS — and attributing gambling as a major cause of their financial problem — had grown from 12.7 per cent as a percentage of all counselled cases in 2006 to 27.5 per cent last year.

“With the relaxation of unsecured lending rules to those earning above $20,000, our concern is that more people will succumb to the lure of gambling using borrowed funds.”

Mr Kuo suggested that one way to deprive problem gamblers of money is to get family members and the gamblers themselves to inform the Credit Bureau of their addiction.

Since all lending institutions have to obtain a Credit Bureau report before extending new loans, “they can be forewarned of an individual’s addiction” before the loans are approved, Mr Kuo said.

He said the CCS would recommend that the Family Exclusion Orders be extended to unsecured loans.

“This will cut off the individual’s access to borrowed funds and the gambler has to stop simply because he has no more funds available. Hopefully with treatment and counselling, the individual can be rehabilitated and the status removed,” Mr Kuo said.

From TODAY, News
Friday, 03-April-2009