Despite ban, man repeatedly enters casino using other men's IC, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Despite ban, man repeatedly enters casino using other men's IC

A man who was barred from entering casinos in Singapore managed to sneak into the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) casino on almost 30 occasions because he assumed the identities of two men he resembled.

Ng Guan Hao, a 34-year-old delivery man, was “mistakenly allowed entry into the casino by MBS staff due to the resemblance between his appearance and the photos on those NRICs”, a Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) spokesman told The Straits Times.

On April 4, Ng was sentenced to 11 months and four weeks’ jail after he pleaded guilty to four charges, three of which were related to gambling.

No action was taken against MBS as “investigations found that adequate checks were conducted by MBS”, the GRA said.

Such cases, where a person with an exclusion order that bars him from entering casinos manages to get in, have “remained low”, according to GRA.

The number of people on exclusion orders who entered the two local casinos between 2019 and 2023 comprised less than 0.1 per cent of the total number of casino visitors. GRA provided no further information about the numbers.

From its financial years 2013 to 2019, the GRA had fined MBS a total of $380,000 for failing to prevent 25 people on exclusion orders from entering and/or remaining in the casino.

In the same time period, Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) was fined a total of $85,000 for failing to stop the entry of six people who were barred.

Ng had multiple casino exclusion orders against him, barring him from entry between March 2018 and March 2023.

So he offered to pay a Melvin Tan $200 each time he used Mr Tan’s identity card (IC) to enter the casino. He went into the MBS casino 22 times between March 17 and May 2, 2021, using Mr Tan’s IC.

He was caught when a casino employee, who was Ng’s schoolmate, spotted him at the VIP table. The casino staff member checked and found that Ng had multiple exclusion orders against him, and called the police.

Despite getting caught, Ng pulled the same trick, using the IC of a Yeo De Rong to enter the casino six times in February 2022 until he was caught by the same casino employee, who called the police again.

Ng had arranged to give half of his winnings to Mr Yeo, among other incentives, to use Mr Yeo’s IC.

As of end-2023, over 300,000 people are barred from entering the casino, according to the data from the National Council on Problem Gambling. 

The majority of them, or about 60 per cent of them, have banned themselves from the casino.

The rest include those who were barred by their family members, and those who are automatically excluded by law as they are undischarged bankrupts or receiving ComCare financial aid from the Government, among other reasons.

The GRA spokesman said that casino operators are required to conduct checks to ensure that people entering the casinos do not have any exclusion orders against them.

The operators are also required to check that individuals use their own identification documents for verification at the point of entry.

MBS declined comment when contacted by ST.

When asked about its checks on those barred from entering casinos, RWS operator Genting Singapore referred ST to its 2023 sustainability report. 

The report said that its casino entry system is designed to ensure that all patrons entering the casino are screened to prevent entry to minors and those on exclusion orders.

Patrons are required to produce their government-issued photo identification to enter the casino. 

The casino also uses facial recognition and optical character recognition technology, which converts physical, printed documents or images into machine-readable text, to complete identification and impersonation checks.

“Over the years, GRA has directed the casino operators to improve their capabilities and processes to enhance checks at the casino entrances,” the spokesman said, adding that casino operators have started to leverage technology such as facial recognition systems to improve the robustness of their checks.

“Casino operators are expected to maintain a high level of vigilance to minimise lapses, and to ensure that individuals who intentionally break the rules are detected and prevented from entering the casinos.”

CASINOSGRA/Gambling Regulatory Authoritymarina bay sands