Toto punters still placing bets up to closing time

The God of Fortune was present at the draw at the Singapore Pools' main branch in Middle Road. Fortune smiled on two punters who picked the winning numbers 18, 49, 16, 27, 20, 21 and the additional number 23.
The God of Fortune was present at the draw at the Singapore Pools' main branch in Middle Road. Fortune smiled on two punters who picked the winning numbers 18, 49, 16, 27, 20, 21 and the additional number 23.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Punters were still rushing to buy tickets for their last chance at the record $13.9 million Toto Hongbao Draw before sales closed at 9pm yesterday.

Businessman Desmond Soh, 49, visited a Singapore Pools outlet in Choa Chu Kang because he thought it was lucky.

"I did some research online and found that this branch has produced quite a few winners before," he said. "I came at 8pm because it sounds auspicious."

The number eight sounds like the Mandarin character fa, which means striking it rich.

The jackpot for the special annual draw snowballed to $13,943,681 when nobody won the Group 1 prize of $1.9 million in Monday's draw.

Earlier, at 4.30pm, there was a snaking queue with about 100 people at the Block 211, Hougang Street 21, Singapore Pools outlet, which had sold last Thursday's winning ticket for the $9.5 million prize.

That win was scooped by one person and it was the largest amount won by a single punter.

Mr R. Thiru, 28, a gas pipe construction worker, said last Thursday's win at the outlet was reason enough for him to try his luck there. "I hope to win this week. If I win, I will give the money to my mother and father, and the rest of my family," he said.

Over at the Singapore Pools' main branch in Middle Road, lion dance performances and festive activities were held in the build-up to the 9.30pm draw there. More than 400 people turned up to watch it .

To win the Group 1 prize, a ticket-holder must have picked all six winning numbers.

This year, two punters struck the jackpot. The winning numbers were 18, 49, 16, 27, 20 and 21 and the additional number was 23.

Last year's $12 million Hongbao jackpot was also shared by two winners.

Yesterday's results were posted on the Singapore Pools website shortly after the draw.

Operations supervisor C.K. Tan, 27, was not too downhearted to find he did not have the winning ticket.

"We know it's very hard to win," he said. "We just tried it for fun."

According to the Singapore Pools website, the odds of winning the Toto Jackpot are almost 14 million to one. The snowballing feature was introduced in 1981, allowing prize amounts to grow if there are no winners.

Jalelah Abu Baker, Rachel Chia and Dominic Teo

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 20, 2016, with the headline 'Toto punters still placing bets up to closing time'. Print Edition | Subscribe