I am the first one to raise my hands in support to stop harassment marketing which include shoving leaflets into your face, receiving text messages, and the worst culprit, annoying phone calls. In Singapore, it appears the government is limiting the marketing channels registered moneylenders can advertise and reach out to potential “customers”, often people down in the dumps with gambling debts.
It appears that with casinos now established in Singapore to continue attracting tourists, even with a $100SGD tax imposed on citizens and PR, many addicts are still heading to the casinos to try their luck or to win back what they have lost with high interest loans from loan sharks (moneylenders).
From a documentary broadcast on Channel News Asia earlier, foreign workers with work permits from Malaysia are falling victim to casinos, incurring heavy debts, losing their houses, breaking up of families, and even miscarriage from a wife worried sick of a gambling addicted husband. Some of these gamblers are blaming moneylenders for their problems because apparently their “in-your-face” marketing and tempting text messages and easy loans are helping them dig a deeper and deeper grave for themselves.
I would say, stop blaming other people for your addiction, you caused it! But then I also remember times when I see tempting ads and I suddenly have this impulse to “buy that bag of chips now”, or “buy that notebook now”; I slowly start to understand the power of marketing as they tug subconsciously in your head and tempt you to indulge. It appears to be a pretty big problem because there are now policies in place that allow family members to register names with casinos that will “block” them from entering. The government has then moved to the next step, restricting moneylenders’ their marketing channels. Aside from their business name on the Yellow Pages, the only other place the money lenders can reach out to customers is through their own business websites.
Is this government intrusion of a free capitalistic market? Yes, I think so, but it is also tough love to try to curb a rising social problem that can have detrimental consequences on society and families.