Singapore

$142 million in unclaimed lottery prize money over last 3 years

Hoping to strike it rich? Then check your 4-D and Toto tickets.

Many bet winners are not doing so - to the tune of $142 million in unclaimed prize money over the last three financial years.

Singapore Pools, sole legal operator of lotteries and sports betting here, gave a breakdown of the monies: $48 million was unclaimed in its last financial year, which ended in March; $42 million in financial year 2014/2015; and $52 million in FY2015/2016.

While the figure is huge, the unclaimed sums a year form less than 1 per cent of the total prize money paid out each year.

Billions of dollars in bets are placed on 4-D, Toto and soccer games a year here.

In the Singapore Totalisator Board's (Tote Board) annual report released last week, about $21 billion in bets were waged on lotteries and sports betting in its last three financial years. Singapore Pools is owned by the Tote Board, a statutory board.

A Singapore Pools spokesman said it does not know how many people did not claim their prizes, as it records sales by the number of transactions and each customer may make more than one transaction.

It also does not know why the prize money is unclaimed, except that winners could have forgotten to check their tickets.

The $142 million in unclaimed prize money in its last three financial years is more than double the $57 million in unclaimed prizes in its 1998, 1999 and 2000 financial years.

Then, Singapore Pools told The New Paper that the unclaimed sums was less than 1 per cent of the total prize money paid out.

The unclaimed prize money will be channelled to the Tote Board, Singapore's largest giver of funds to a wide variety of social and other causes.

Winners have 180 days from the date of the draw to claim their prizes.

The Singapore Pools spokesman said it may explore using technology to help customers keep track of their purchases and adopt responsible betting habits.

He said: "We will share details when there are concrete plans."

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