Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Sweep Me Away

Singapore Sweep
I could never quite understand the attraction of 4D, the officially sanctioned version or the illegal HDB-hawked version. Having 'Big' and Small' versions of the same draw is thoroughly confusing to the uninitiated.

Neither seemed to give great returns and I can but wonder how they are faring with the two casinos mopping up all the Uncles and Aunties' spare change?

In all my time in Singapore I only managed to recoup a couple of dollars; mind you I was rarely tempted to out money down in the first place.  The Singapore Sweepstake lottery also failed to spark my interest with a maximum prize of 2.2. million and odds that made winning almost impossible.

Not that Singapore Pools established in 1968 and who run these lotteries are missing out, as Sport betting is big business. Both football and motor racing attract the punters.  

Singapore Pools reportedly (dated 2006) make $5 billion Singapore dollars per year but are parsimonious when it comes to give back to charities.  In its first 38 years of operation is only gave back $S1.6.billion

We used to see big queues forming at the betting shop on the corner of Alexandra Road and Commonwealth Drive before they pulled the small coffee shop complex down.  The other casualty in this redevelopment was a much patronised noodle stall.

Those who lost their shirt gambling were never too far away from redemption, with both the True Way Presbyterian Church and another religious grouping in Sanctuary House within easy walking distance from the betting shop, although I very much doubt that those afflicted made the association.

The New Zealand Lottery Board this past financial years sold $NZ782.3 million of tickets and made an overall profit of $NZ159 million.  This profit was distributed to New Zealand charities which compares more than favourably with the charitable distribution rate of its Singapore cousin.

As I write the New Zealand Powerball lottery has jack-potted to an impressive $NZ25 million which unlike the Singapore sweep will not be shared by a dozen people when finally struck.  Perchance to dream!
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