Singapore Pools to suspend operations amid Covid-19 lockdown
The Singapore Pools is to suspend all lottery draws and totalisator sales as part of the country’s new measures to slow the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
With the Singapore government announcing that all non-essential workplaces and schools are to be shut in a bid to stem the tide of the virus, all online and retail sales will be suspended, effective 7 April.
The operator’s lottery draws have been held behind closed doors since 25 March, but will now be suspended until further notice. The Toto draw scheduled for today (6 April) has been cancelled, and all tickets purchased for future or cancelled draws eligible for refunds.
The Toto jackpot, once activity resumes, will start at $2.4m (£1.4m/€1.6m/$1.7m), while the Singapore Sweep draw scheduled for May will also be cancelled.
Players will be able to claim prizes of up to $5,000 at selected outlets, and for prizes above that sum at the Singapore Pools’ main office today. After that point winning tickets will have to be redeemed at a later date, though the 180 day window for claims will be extended.
In addition, as of 7 April, local horse racing activity at the Singapore Turf Club will be suspended. This means the Singapore Pools will not be offering sports betting until further notice.
Until this point, it had only been offering online betting, with all Livewire venues and off-course betting centres shuttered from 26 March.
“Singapore Pools is committed to operate in a safe and responsible manner, in accordance with guidelines from the [government’s] Multi-Ministry Task Force,” the operator said. “We seek our customers’ understanding that these measures are necessary for their safety and well-being.
“We thank them for their continuing support.”
News of the suspension comes after the country’s Ministry of Home Affairs announced plans to review its gambling regulations, and create a new single regulatory authority for the industry.
While oversight for gambling has been divided between a number of different government departments, it will be consolidated under the Gambling Regulatory Authority from 2021. In addition, plans were underway to update gambling regulations to reflect changes in technology and consumer habits.