Toto punter dreams of lucky numbers
Singapore punters have all sorts of ways of choosing those lucky Toto numbers that they hope will change their lives.
One woman, who wanted to be known only as Madam Tan, does not normally play Toto but responded to a peculiar dream on Wednesday night.
"I dreamt that I bumped into an old lady while climbing the stairs," the housewife told The New Paper. "She gave me a few numbers and told me to bet on them."
The next day, Madam Tan, 53, spent $10 on two tickets - a System 7 and the rest ordinary picks.
Like many other punters, she is hoping to win this year's Hong Bao Draw's $12 million jackpot - the biggest since 2002. (See report above.)
The big draw had many punters joining queues snaking at outlets islandwide. TNP visited five Singapore Pools outlets in Serangoon, Pasir Ris and Toa Payoh yesterdayat lunchtime.
Speaking to TNP outside a Singapore Pools outlet at Elias Mall, in Pasir Ris, Madam Tan said: "I don't usually buy Toto but the dream was a sign that I had to.
"I came to this outlet as I struck first prize in 4D here last year."
She declined to reveal the numbers, but said that one of them was 13, her lucky number.
"People consider the number 13 unlucky but not me. I live on the 13th storey and I've struck 4D with 1313 before."
Madam Tan, who has been betting with Singapore Pools for more than 20 years, estimates that she has won more money than she has lost.
But she will not be losing sleep if she does not win tonight.
"It'd be nice if I win but if I lose, it's just the price of a meal."
Another punter, property agent Ng Jeng Hong, used this year's Budget for inspiration.
Mr Ng, 55, regularly turns to newspapers for inspiration but is selective about the numbers he chooses.
"I won't use numbers from sad stories or tragedies like plane crashes or accidents.
"It feels bad to win money off other people's misfortune."
Mr Ng's outlays are bigger than Madam Tan's, having already spent $200 on Toto tickets which he bought from four different outlets. He plans to buy more tickets today.
One punter, who wanted to be known only as Mr Huang, used his children's hong bao to decide on his numbers.
He spent about 10 minutes of his hour-long lunch break queueing.
Mr Huang, 54, who works in construction, bought 20 tickets in all.
He said: "I usually use numbers from my address or phone number but this time, I did something different. I looked at the amount in each of my children's red packets and chose the numbers."
When asked if he had enough time for lunch before returning to work, Mr Huang smiled and said: "Buying Toto is more important."
Most punters TNP spoke to used conventional avenues like addresses and birth dates for their seven numbers, but one placed his faith on a computer.
Mr Neo, 26, who works in sales, bought two QuickPick tickets and had his numbers randomly generated by the system.
He said: "I don't bother thinking of numbers. I trust my luck."
4D TOPS, THEN COMES TOTO
Toto is the second most popular form of gambling among Singaporeans, a 2014 survey by the National Council on Problem Gambling showed.
More than one in four respondents bought Toto while 35 per cent took part in 4D, making 4D the most popular gambling activity.
Three thousand Singapore residents aged 18 and above were surveyed and close to half engaged in at least one form of gambling, with 0.2 per cent classified as probable pathological gamblers.
In total, local punters spent close to $8 billion a year on games run by Singapore Pools and Singapore Turf Club like 4D, Toto and Big Sweep.
National Council on Problem Gambling
Thye Hua Kwan Problem Gambling Recovery Centre
One Hope Centre
WE CARE Community Services
By the numbers
$12m The jackpot prize for this year's Hong Bao Draw, the largest amount in 13 years
$12.79m The prize money of the 2002 Hong Bao Draw, the largest amount ever offered
$5.26m The Hong Bao Draw's largest single payout, where two winners split the 2007 jackpot of $10.51 million
$10m The prize money for the first Hong Bao Draw, organised by Singapore Pools, in 2000