The easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Singapore has led to a “dramatic surge” in the amount of placed bets on 4-D, Toto, and sports such as football, according to local media reports. A total of $9.2 billion was spent on bets in the 2021/22 financial year, a 40% increase from the prior year. This is the largest sum placed in such bets in the last ten years, beating the previous high of $8.1 billion set in the 2018/19 financial year.
A spokesman for the Tote Board said the sums bet 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.
As reported by The Straits Times, Billy Lee, executive director of Blessed Grace Social Services, thinks the surge in bets in the last financial year was due to pent-up demand, adding: “It’s a psychological thing. When things are opening up, people want to have fun.”
He pointed out 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” here.
As reported by the cited source, 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 that 4-D was the most popular game, followed by Toto.