Look at negative impact of football betting

Posed photo of a person looking at a website for online betting services.
Posed photo of a person looking at a website for online betting services.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

Rather than bark up the wrong tree by simply targeting our casinos (Address social impact of gambling before expanding casinos, by Dr Ho Ting Fei, April 8), we need to take a multifaceted approach to tackle problem gambling.

Football betting is a source of problem gambling that is often overlooked.

It not unusual to see groups of people clustered in front of the screens in Singapore Pools outlets, discussing and analysing the game odds displayed.

The groups are often made up of middle-aged men, which makes me wonder if they have chosen to spend their time betting over their families or jobs.

It is relatively easy to use exclusion orders to stop those who are deemed problem gamblers from entering our casinos.

Unfortunately, no such orders exist at Singapore Pools for football betting.

It is not uncommon to read about gambling addicts seeking help in the news every time the World Cup rolls around.

The authorities launched legal football betting about two decades ago to upset the activities of illegal bookies.

But 20 years later, surely we have had enough time to evaluate the negative social impact of legalised football betting?

It is time to consider putting an end to this.

Lim Chee Khiam

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2019, with the headline 'Look at negative impact of football betting'. Print Edition | Subscribe