With COVID-19 restrictions lifted, gamblers have reclaimed their favourite forms of entertainment, leading to strong results for lottery and sports betting. In the Tote Board’s last financial year, which ended this past March, S$9.2 billion was wagered on lotteries and sports. In addition, casino entry levies collected by the statutory body jumped to S$125 million, up 10 per cent over the previous year.
According to the National Gambling Survey (NGPS), Singaporeans spend an average of S$212 a month on their lottery tickets, or about S$2544 a year. Our SLP data set also shows a similar pattern. We also found that when lottery-expenditure data is used as a control in happiness and life satisfaction equations, the famous null result disappears.
Despite the low odds of winning, lottery bettors are still enthusiastic about their hobby. For example, a Gojek driver who wished to be known as Mr Cho told The Straits Times that he places bets of up to $400 a week on Premier League matches. He also bets on the World Cup and says he will probably continue to do so as long as he can.
Singapore Pools, the sole legal lottery operator in Singapore, runs multiple games with varying cash prizes. The top prize in Toto, the most popular game among its many offerings, can be as high as $5 million, while 99Jitu TOTO offers a minimum jackpot of $1 million. The company uses profits from the sale of tickets to fund charities and other good works.