Singapore launches Web site for gambling addicts 4 years ahead of casino launch - Friday 14th of October 2005

Singapore has launched a Web site for problem gamblers as part of the governments plan to address concerns over a possible spike in bankruptcies and gambling addiction _ four years ahead of the scheduled opening of two casinos.

The National Council on Problem Gambling Web site was officially launched Monday, and contains stories from gambling addicts and a "self test" for citizens.

The council itself will "decide on funding applications for preventive and rehabilitative programs," the Web site says. "It will also assess and advise the government on the effectiveness of treatment, counseling and rehabilitative programs."

Singapore announced in April it would build two casinos by 2009 as part of efforts by the Southeast Asian nation to shed its staid image. Thousands of citizens launched a rare petition drive against the casino plan, saying it would lead to a spike in gambling addiction.

The companies bidding for the contracts include Las Vegas heavyweights Harrahs Entertainment, MGM Mirage and Wynn Las Vegas.

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