Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs since October 2016, (a) to what extent are users of legal online gambling sites operated by Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club current gamblers on any platform versus first-time gamblers; and (b) whether such gamblers have used these sites to add to their total gambling spending as opposed to switching gambling spending from other platforms.
- More than one-third and four-fifths of Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club's remote account holders respectively, previously held telephone betting accounts. Among those who had previously not held telephone betting accounts, over 95% of them indicated that they had placed bets with the operators in the preceding 12 months. In short, the large majority do not appear to be first-time gamblers.
- It is not possible to ascertain whether these remote account holders have simply switched from other platforms, including illegal ones, or have increased their total gambling. That said, there has not been evidence of a surge in the sum of bets placed with Pools and Turf Club since the commencement of remote services in 2016. In 2017, Pools and Turf Club's turnover grew by 2.6 percent, similar to the average annual growth of 2.4 percent between FY2012 and FY2015.
- On the other hand, according to gambling consultancy firm H2GC, the local underground remote gambling market grew only by 0.3 percent in 2017, lower than the average annual growth rate of 3.1 percent between 2012 and 2016.