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A total of S$9.2 billion was wagered on lotteries and sports in the Tote Board’s last financial year, which ended in March 2022 -- the largest sum placed on such bets in the past decade.
This was in comparison to some S$6.6 billion spent on bets in the previous financial year that ended March 2021.
The year-on-year increase was about 40 per cent.
The boom in betting coincided with the easing of Covid-19 curbs.
During the circuit breaker, all Singapore Pools outlets, the Singapore Turf Club and the two casinos were shut from April 7 to June 1 in 2020, and resumed operations on different dates.
Singapore Pools retail outlets reopened from June 22, 2020.
Online betting making it easier to lose money
According to The Straits Times, the reason for more people gambling can be attributed to the ease and accessibility offered by the Singapore Pools online betting site.
A manager of a community services centre that offers counselling for problem gamblers said some seniors have learnt how to place bets on the Singapore Pools online betting site during the Covid-19 pandemic, and subsequently placed bets more frequently.
It was also reported by ST that the latest survey by the National Council on Problem Gambling found that 44 per cent of Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 18 and older polled said they bet on at least one form of gambling activity in 2019.
The 2020 survey found 4-D was the most popular game, followed by Toto.
The post-lockdown period also saw a boom in events for punters to wager bets.
Horse racing bets up, but declining over the years
As lottery and sports betting saw a boom, so did horse racing bets as S$818 million were wagered in the last financial year.
This was 65 per cent more than the S$496 million in the year before, when the Singapore Turf Club was closed during the circuit breaker.
However, betting on the races has been on a steady decline in the past decade as the activity is not appealing to younger punters, it was reported.
Some S$125 million in casino entry levies was collected in the last financial year, 10 per cent more than the S$114 million collected in the year before, when the two casinos were closed during the circuit breaker.
The daily casino entry levy for Singaporeans and permanent residents is S$150 a person.
The Tote Board is a statutory body.
It governs lottery operator Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club, which operates horse races.
Lotteries comprise 4-D, Toto and Singapore Sweep.
Sports betting refers to football and motor racing bets.
The Tote Board’s annual report released in October did not provide a breakdown of the total bets on each of these games.
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