by Bogdan Fechită
“Prohibition of gambling is not a solution.” With this statement, Singapore Pools, starts the presentation on its website. On a continent where gambling is regarded as a taboo subject and it is forbidden in most areas, Singapore is a true exception. Behind this exception, however, a bloody history is hiding.
Singapore Pools is a state-owned lottery company, controlled by the Tote Board and it is the only operator with the legal right to organize lotteries on that territory. The company was established on May 23rd, 1968, to stop the rise of illegal gambling which took place in the smallest country in Southeast Asia. Thus, the inhabitants had access to a legal way to bet and play the lottery and avoided the dangers they risked with the illegal games.
Although gambling became legal only in the last 50 years, it existed in the city-state for a longer period of time. Until the legalizing of gambling, this was the field of the triads, a true secret society composed of Chinese mobsters. Gambling practiced by them was accompanied, however, by much violence and crimes, since the triads’ purpose was to make huge amounts of money.
It was when the authorities realized that prohibiting gambling will not lead to its extinction but on the contrary, will offer space to illegal activities. In a new, pragmatic approach, the government agreed in 1968 to reopen the gambling market in order to offer players a safe environment, but also to neutralize illegal activities. “It is necessary to recognize the existence of gambling and to place it in a legal framework so that those who by their nature are inclined to bet, could do so without breaking the law. At the same time, part of the proceeds could be used to the benefit of the citizens, “said the Ministry of Finance at the inauguration of Singapore Pools.
The Benefits of Gambling
The decision of the authorities was not only a bold one at that time, but also one bringing many benefits over time. In the first decade its existence, efforts were made to change the outlook on gambling and to create a secure social environment, so that those who gambled to be able to manage more easily their investments in gambling. Campaigns of responsibility, self-empowerment and risk awareness in gambling were also implemented.
Moreover, since Singapore Pools is a non-profit organization, surpluses have been directed to charitable causes, but also to sports projects, community, education, health and culture. The flagship projects of the lottery includes the funding of the First National Stadium in Singapore (1973), a indoor arena (1988) and of the Esplanade Theatre (1996). Also, the lottery is the sponsor of the yearly events Chingay Parade and National Day Parade. These are just some examples of the lottery implication of the Singapore lottery.
Currently the Lottery contributes annually with approximately $ 2 billion to the budget of the government through taxes and by financing good causes.
Vision, mission, values
On its website, the Singapore lottery presents its vision, mission and values to which they remain faithful. The vision is simple: to be a world-class and a responsible gaming company, to be appreciated by customers and the community. The mission in its turn is clear and coincided “to offer a reliable and legal way to play in order to refute illegal gambling.”
The value’s chapter is a more dense one, but it is based on a few key words: integrity, respect, responsibility, cooperation, professionalism, continuous learning and courage.
The Lottery is 100% owned by Tote Board, a council reporting directly to the Ministry of Finance of Singapore. All products and services are regulated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Family and Social Development.
In addition to its own network of 300 branches and commercial agencies, the lottery products are found in a few stores and supermarkets. Also, customers who meet the requirements of social protection, are given the opportunity to open an account at Singapore Pools and to place bets by phone.
TOTO is the main and most popular product of the Singapore lottery. 6/49 is a lottery type, with drawings every Monday and Thursday. The method of playing is not complicated: a player chooses at least 6 numbers between 1 and 49. Within the extraction six winning numbers are chosen, plus an additional number. If a player has at least three numbers on the ticket that coincide with those of the extraction, then he qualifies for a prize. The prize amount increases with the numbers of numbers that coincide, but maximum six. It can be played both simple and by using different systems of 7 to 12 numbers. There is also the System Roll option, where the player chooses five numbers and the sixth is a guaranteed winning number.
Portofilio of products:
– Toto (lottery 6/49)
– The Singapore Sweep (tombola)
– 4-Digits (lottery game with 4 numbers)
– sportive betting (on football events and motor sports)