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Singapore is taking a gamble by opening its first casinos this year after a long-standing ban.

The government hopes the two multi-billion dollar projects will create tens of thousands of new jobs, draw in new tourists and bring in billions of dollars in revenue. 

But some Singaporeans worry that the casinos will not only encourage gambling addiction but also create a host of other social problems.

But, gaming is not new to the country.

Thousands of Singaporeans bet on the lottery and horse races each week. Mahjong is a common pastime. 

And loansharks conduct a thriving business lending money to those desperate to settle gambling debts. 

On this edition of 101 East, we look at Singapore's big bet on the gambling industry and at the effect gambling will have on the modern city-state.

This episode of 101 East airs from Thursday, March 11, 2010 at the following times GMT: Thursday: 1230; Friday: 0300; Saturday: 0530, 1730; Sunday: 1130; Monday: 1630; Tuesday: 1430; Wednesday: 0830; Thursday: 0630.

Source: Al Jazeera