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Gambling Culture

It may come as no surprise that Singaporeans gambled away $6.2 billion last year. After all, it’s not unusual to see long queues outside Singapore Pools outlets and Singapore Turf Club branches, especially those which have sold winning tickets before. And let’s be honest, S.League would not have been possible without SCORE. But just how serious do Singaporeans take gambling?

The percentage of household income spent on gambling in Singapore is 8.4%, which is calculated using data from Singapore Census of Population 2000 and IRAS Annual Report 2002.

Consider this: we spent more on gambling than health (3.7%), education (7.8%) and clothing (4.7%); and Miss Chua Lee Hoong claimed that we Singaporeans have the ability to plan and save for our own retirement because we’re far more educated today than 40 years ago.

Let us compare the percentage of household income spent on gambling in Singapore with other countries:

  • Australia: 3%
  • Singapore: 8.4%
  • South Africa: 2%
  • US: 0.6%

Since gambling is a high-risk pursuit with little returns, it appears that Singaporeans are greater risk-takers than most people. Unfortunately, Singapore ranks below many countries when it comes to risk-taking in entrepreneurial activities.

Community Chest raises money to fund 130 social service programmes and support 314,000 beneficiaries, and it received $38 million in donations last year. That’s 0.6% of what Singaporeans spend on gambling last year.

Says a lot about our gracious society, doesn’t it?

13 October 2003 · Money

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