When the subject of the casinos was first broached in 2005, churches distributed stickers exhorting "Say No To The CaSINo". An online petition to stop the casino, "Families Against the Casino Threat in Singapore", garnered some 29,000 signatures. Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew himself discovered in a straw poll of his peers at a dining table that the only supporter of splurging over $6 billion of taxpayers' money to build a gambling den was an operator of a casino.
But his son and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong insisted on going ahead, regardless of his father's foreboding warning about the poison of the vice structure "no, no, don’t do that, you'll bring mafias here and money laundering and all kinds of crime".
The doors were opened on Chinese New Year's day, and the effects on civil society were immediately apparent to all. Madam Gan, 53, emerged bleary eye from the Resorts World Sentosa Casino after spending 11 hours gambling at baccarat. "I'm going home to nap, and I'll come back again in the afternoon," she vowed. Madam Huang, 71, and grandmother of 6, played roulette and baccarat for 14 hours before seeing sunlight at 9.30 am. Their children will just have to wait to collect their ang pows, a time honoured Chinese custom of distributing red packets of money to the unmarried during this festive occasion. That is assuming mom or gramdma gets to beat the house.