Covid-19 measures

Reduced Toto pot unfairly penalised punters

I refer to Singapore Pools' decision to reduce the jackpot for yesterday's Toto Hongbao draw to $8 million from last year's $12 million (This year's Toto Hongbao draw reduced to $8m to better manage crowds: Singapore Pools, Feb 25).

A spokesman said this was done to better manage the queues at outlets selling the Toto tickets, in consideration of the health and safety of customers and staff.

The sum of $8 million is still significant, and higher than usual draws.

It is surprising that Singapore Pools thought a significant number of punters would change their mind on whether to buy Toto, now that the prize was "only" $8 million. Understandably, queues remained long.

The real world is not inhabited by "homo economicus" (people who are rational and act in their own interest). Singapore Pools should understand this, as it serves a market that buys its products despite the odds.

In normal times, gambling is already a burden on those who wish to get rich - usually those who are less well off.

Without any marked improvement in public safety, the reduction of the pot has unfairly penalised the punters.

Singapore Pools should reconsider and enhance its Covid-19 measures for subsequent draws.

Way Kai Siang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2021, with the headline 'Reduced Toto pot unfairly penalised punters'. Subscribe