Singapore and Japan betting shops reopen as lockdown eases

21 July 2020

Off-track betting facilities in both Japan and Singapore are continuing to reopen as each country emerges from its novel coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown.

In Singapore, the Singapore Pools’ Livewire venues reopened yesterday (20 July), with live betting and screening of sports resuming. Each venue is limited to 50 people per floor, with enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures in place to prevent transmission of the virus.

All customers over 60 or with medical conditions that may put them at greater risk from Covid-19 are advised to avoid the venues, and to place bets online instead.

The Livewire estate and off-track betting facilities were shuttered from 26 March, with online betting and lottery draws suspended from 7 April, effectively shutting down the entire Singapore Pools business.

Online wagering returned on 15 June, with lottery sales resuming a week later, ahead of the first draw of the 4D lottery on 24 June.

In Japan, meanwhile, the Japanese Racing Authority (JRA) has continued to reopen its off-track betting facilities, though the venues are subject to limited opening hours and customers will be subject to strict safety protocols.

Customers will be able to cash out winning tickets and place bets, but there will be no televised racing shown in the outlets, and no odds information on display. Hours of business will be restricted to between 9am and 2pm, meaning there will be certain races on which shops will not accept wagers.

Seven facilities will reopen on Saturday 25 July, followed by two more on Sunday 26 July.

This follows the reopening of 23 venues on 11 July, and a further six a week later, and came after racing went behind closed doors from 29 February.

Despite the shutdown of retail betting, the first half of the JRA’s 2020 season, which ran to 28 June, saw sales rise 1.5% year-on-year to JPY1.48tn (£10.83bn/€12.02bn/$13.77bn), with customers still able to bet online.