In the last financial year, which ended in March 2023, Singapore recorded a 12% increase in spending on lotteries and sports betting, reaching a total of S$10.3 billion ($7.6 billion). This increase is largely attributable to the excitement generated by the 2022 Football World Cup, which took place between November and December 2022 in Qatar.
The annual report released by the Tote Board last Thursday revealed that the latest figures surpassed the S$9.2 billion ($6.8 billion) wagered the previous year, marking the highest yearly betting amount of the decade. The record had previously been set in the fiscal year that ended in March 2019, which also featured a Football World Cup.
The Tote Board’s report did not give a breakdown of the bets placed on the different lotteries and games, such as 4-D, Toto, football or motor racing.
A spokesman for Singapore Pools – the only licensed operator of lotteries and sports betting services – told The Straits Times: “World Cup 2022, being one of the first major global sporting events since the pandemic, garnered interest from sporting fans and the bets collected are in line with the interest."
The Tote Board, which is responsible for overseeing Singapore Pools and the horse racing operator Singapore Turf Club, announced that the last horse race will take place in October 2024, with the closure of operations scheduled for March 2027 to allow for land redevelopment.
Revenue from horse race betting reached about S$1.1 billion ($814.7 million) in the latest fiscal year. The Tote Board noted that it would reassess the impact of the horse racing closure accordingly as activities progressively wind down over the next few years.
“As the contribution from Singapore races to the group’s income is not significant, the facility’s closure is not expected to significantly impact the financial performance of the group for the next 12 months,” it said.
In addition, there was an increase in the collection of casino entry fees, with S$147 million ($108.9 million) collected in the last fiscal year, up 17% from S$125 million ($92.6 million) in the previous period. The daily casino entry levy for Singaporeans and permanent residents is S$150 a person.
The increase in casino fees comes after the country reopened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers in early April 2022, and the subsequent full relaxation of restrictions on international travelers on February 13, 2023.