The government has shot down suggestions the city-state open a casino to attract more tourists and help put the recession-hit economy back on track. Wong Kan Seng, minister for home affairs, acted quickly to kill the idea, saying that a centre for legalised gambling would encourage the spread of what the government calls 'social ills', such as prostitution and drug trafficking. 'There are many ways to draw in tourists without a casino,' Mr Wong said. The Straits Times reported 'I don't see a need for a casino right here on our doorstep.' In a separate statement, the ministry of home affairs - which is responsible for the police department - poured further cold water on the potential move. 'The setting-up of a casino goes beyond law-and-order considerations. There are adverse long-term and far-reaching social consequences of such a move,' an official said. The plan was floated in one of a series of articles in The Straits Times - the dominant domestic newspaper - about how Singapore could restore economic growth and remodel its economy. Tourism experts quoted by the newspaper suggested that opening a casino would help draw extra visitors and boost the array of attractions in the country. Tourism accounts for about 5 per cent of gross domestic product. A record 7.7 million people visited last year, although officials say this year's figure will fall by 5 per cent in the wake of the September 11 attacks on the United States. Neighbouring Malaysia is home to many casinos, popular with many Singaporeans. In addition, Singaporeans also travel to gamble in Perth, Australia, and Macau, and patronise floating casinos moored outside Singapore waters. Singapore's economy is set to shrink about 3 per cent this year, its worst performance in more than 30 years. Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong has said he expects a mild recovery next year.