The easing of restrictions in Singapore last year led to a “dramatic surge” in the amount of placed bets on Singapore lotteries and sports in the 2021/22 financial year.
As reported by The Straits Times, $9.2bn was spent on bets on lotteries and sports in the last financial year, ending March 2022. That is the largest sum placed on such bets in the last ten years, beating the previous record total of $8.1bn set in the 2018/19 financial year.
$9.2bn also represents a 40% increase on the previous financial year – the COVID-afflicted 2020/21 – when $6.6bn was spent on lotteries and sports betting.
A spokesman for the Tote Board said the sums betted on lotteries and sports in the last financial year increased after Singapore started lifting COVID-19 restrictions.
The Tote Board, a statutory body, governs lottery operator Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club, which operates horse racing in the country. Lotteries comprise 4-D, Toto and Singapore Sweep, while sports betting refers to football and motor racing bets.
Billy Lee, Executive Director of Blessed Grace Social Services, suggests the surge in bets in 2021/22 could be attributed to “pent-up demand”. He said: “It’s a psychological thing. When things are opening up, people want to have fun.”
Lee added that lotteries like 4-D and Toto have always been very popular among Singaporeans, hoping to win big with just a small bet and these lotteries are an “accepted form of recreation” in Singapore.
The latest survey by the National Council on Problem Gambling found that 44% 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.
Earlier this year, IGT Global Services signed a six-year contract to provide its central lottery system, Aurora, to Singapore Pools, supporting the lottery’s “significant” daily transactions.