Software glitches that hit online Toto Quick Pick also affected iToto, some telephone 4D Quick Pick bets

A photo taken on Jan 15, 2020, shows a punters queueing at a Singapore Pools outlet in Toa Payoh. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Some punters who made iToto bets and placed 4D Quick Pick bets over the phone have also been affected by software glitches that were first announced earlier in January, said Singapore Pools on Friday (Jan 31).

It also announced details of how affected customers will be compensated for software errors that have been detected so far.

Between Oct 2, 2018 and Dec 20 last year, iToto bets that were sold to some online and outlet customers had left the number 49 out of the set of random numbers generated in punters' bets, Singapore Pools said. This made up 0.04 per cent of Toto sales, though Singapore Pools declined to give figures on the number of punters affected.

During the same period, the numbers 0 and 9 were also left out of bets that were randomly generated for customers who had placed 4D Quick Pick bets on the telephone.

When punters place bets via the Quick Pick option, the Singapore Pools system generates a random set of numbers for them. An iToto bet is a Quick Pick System 12 Entry divided into 28 units. In a System 12 entry, a punter selects 12 numbers between 1 and 49, which is equivalent to 924 ordinary entries.

In a separate glitch, Singapore Pools' system had also generated only unique digits for 4D Quick Pick Roll Bets placed over the telephone between Oct 25, 2016, and Jan 22 this year. This is not intended to be the logic of the 4D game, which allows for bets containing repeated numbers to be placed, said Singapore Pools.

The same error also affected 4D Quick Pick (Ordinary) bets placed on the phone between Oct 2, 2018, and Jan 22 this year. These glitches affected 0.0003 per cent of total 4D sales.

"Singapore Pools takes responsibility for these incidents and remains committed to prioritising the interests of customers," it said in a statement, adding that the glitches have been rectified.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which regulates gambling here, said it takes a serious view of the errors and is currently investigating them.

This latest announcement comes after Singapore Pools revealed earlier this month that its online Toto Quick Pick system had been affected by two software glitches - the first of its kind in Singapore. These were reported to the MHA on Jan 3 and Jan 10 respectively and have been rectified.

The first glitch resulted in the Quick Pick system excluding the number 49 and selecting numbers from 1 to 48 only, when generating Quick Pick numbers for customers placing bets online.

The second software glitch in the Toto Quick Pick System Roll was discovered while resolving the first error on Dec 20 last year, and was reported to the ministry on Jan 10.

In the Quick Pick System Roll, a set of five numbers are randomly generated with a sixth "rolling" number, designated as "R" that represents all the remaining 44 numbers.

Because of the glitch, instead of randomly generating six numbers and then assigning "R" in place of one of the six generated numbers, the system replaced the largest of the six generated numbers with "R" instead.

Singapore Pools said on Friday that all affected 4D customers will receive a token sum of $5 on top of getting refunds for their bets.

There were 14 Toto draws that included 49 as a winning number while its system was affected. Affected Toto customers will also get refunds for their bets. Those with prize winnings in the 14 draws will receive an additional 50 per cent of their claimed prize winnings too, while those with no prize winnings will get a token sum of $5.

Those who had made iToto bets at Singapore Pools outlets can visit the Singapore Pools website to check if their iToto selections were affected. They will need to produce their bet tickets to receive money that is due to them.

Customers who had placed bets online or by phone will receive money that is due to them in their Singapore Pools accounts.

Singapore Pools added that it will be topping up the Groups 5, 6 and 7 prizes for an upcoming Toto draw in February as a "goodwill gesture". This additional top-up , which is a one-time contribution, will total more than $500,000. More details will be announced later.

The MHA said it has directed Singapore Pools to take all necessary measures to ensure the integrity of its betting system and to prevent glitches from happening again.

It noted that sanctions may be imposed if the operator is found to have breached regulations and this could include censure and a fine.

The Tote Board, which oversees Singapore Pools, has set up a review panel to review the causes of the glitches, how they were managed and consider measures that can be taken to prevent them from occurring again.

It has started its work, and is chaired by Tote Board chairman Moses Lee. The other board members are Mrs Fang Ai Lian, who chairs the Tote Board audit and risk committee; Mrs Mildred Tan, a board member of the Tote Board; and Mr Bruce Liang, chief executive of Integrated Health Information Systems and chief information officer of the Ministry of Health.

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