$142m unclaimed in lottery, betting wins over last 3 years

In the Singapore Totalisator Board’s annual report released last week, about $21 billion in bets was waged on lotteries and sports betting over its last three financial years.
In the Singapore Totalisator Board’s annual report released last week, about $21 billion in bets was waged on lotteries and sports betting over its last three financial years. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Sum forms less than 1% of total prize money; money goes to Tote Board for various causes

Did you claim your 4-D or Toto prize money? Apparently, many prize winners did not. Singapore Pools, the sole legal operator of lotteries and sports betting here, gave a breakdown of the monies: $48 million was unclaimed in its last financial year, which ended in March; $42 million in financial year 2014/2015; and $52 million in FY2015/2016.

While the figures are huge, the unclaimed sums annually amount to less than 1 per cent of the total prize money paid out each year.

Billions of dollars in bets are placed every year on 4-D, Toto and soccer games here. In the Singapore Totalisator Board's (Tote Board) annual report released last week, about $21 billion in bets was waged on lotteries and sports betting over its last three financial years.

Singapore Pools is owned by the Tote Board, a statutory board.

A spokesman for Singapore Pools said it does not know how many people did not claim their prizes, as it records sales by the number of transactions and each customer may make more than one transaction. It also does not know why the prize money is unclaimed, except that winners could have forgotten to check their tickets.

The $142 million in unclaimed prize money in its last three financial years is more than double the $57 million in unclaimed prizes in its 1998, 1999 and 2000 financial years.

Then, Singapore Pools told The New Paper that the unclaimed sums were less than 1 per cent of the total prize money paid out.

  • $48m
     

    Amount unclaimed in the last financial year for Singapore Pools, which ended in March.


    $52m
     

    Amount unclaimed in financial year 2015/2016.


    $42m
     

    Amount unclaimed in financial year 2014/2015.


    180
     

    Number of days 4-D, Toto and sports betting winners have from the date of the draw to claim their prizes.

The unclaimed prize money will be channelled to the Tote Board, Singapore's largest giver of funds to a wide variety of social and other causes.

Winners have 180 days from the date of the draw to claim their prizes. This was extended from 90 days in 2010 to allow people more time to claim their prizes.

The spokesman for Singapore Pools said it may explore using technology to help customers keep track of their purchases and adopt responsible betting habits, although it declined to share more details. He said: "We will share details when there are concrete plans."

In 2005, it was reported that most of the unclaimed sums were less than $1,000 each, but in the same year, a $2 million top prize in the Singapore Sweep was not claimed.

Mr Billy Lee, executive director of Blessed Grace Social Services, which helps gambling addicts, said: "Those who buy 4-D hope to strike it rich and they check their tickets religiously. I'm surprised so much prize money was left unclaimed."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 02, 2017, with the headline '$142m unclaimed in lottery, betting wins over last 3 years'. Print Edition | Subscribe