How does the changes in TOTO affects your winnings?

By Marcus Chua, Dollars and Sense

Singapore Pools has recently altered the structure of our local lottery system, widely known as “Toto”. How does that affect your chances of winning? More importantly, should you still be betting in light of the new changes?

Here are the changes that were made to one of Singaporeans’ favourite lottery bets.

Changes:

1. Choose a combination of 6 winning numbers from 49 numbers, up from 45 numbers previously

2. The prize pool will be at least S$1 million per draw, increased from a minimum of S$500,000

3. The cost on each betting type has DOUBLED, with a minimum bet of S$ 1

4. Added new winning combination of 3 numbers, with a winning prize of S$ 10.

Does the changes sound more appealing for you to bet on Toto? It would seem fair for Singapore Pools to be doubling the cost of each betting type, and increasing the total number by 4, because they doubled the prize pool to a lucrative S$1 million.  There is also an additional prize category of S$10 for a winning combination of 3 numbers.

Now let us add in some simple probability and statistical inputs to see how the new Toto system has affected your probability of winnings compared to the previous system.

Points to note:

  • Old system winnings are pegged to the minimum S$ 500,000.
  • New system winnings are pegged to the minimum of S$ 1million
  • Only 1 punter that will win the entire prize pool of his/her category (matched winnings numbers)
Matched Winning NumbersOld SystemNew System
ProbabilityWinningsExpected WinningsProbabilityWinningsExpected Winnings
31/6110$0.16
3 + Additional Number1/579$20$0.031/81225$0.03
41/772$30$0.041/108350$0.05
4 + Additional Number1/1429013% of Prize Pool$4.551/221973% of Prize Pool$1.35
51/3572413% of Prize Pool$1.821/554915.5% of Prize Pool$0.99
5 + Additional Number1/135751013% of Prize Pool$ 0.051/23306368% Prize Pool$0.03
61/814506031% of Prize pool$0.021/1398381638% Prize Pool                        $0.03
Sum of Expected Winnings$6.51$2.65

Note: The sum of expected winnings should not be confused with expected winnings. It is two entirely different things.

Despite lower winnings payout of S$500,000 provided in the old system, the sum of expected winnings from Toto is still 2.46x higher than the new system. Why should punters be paying twice the amount for a system that is paying them so much lesser? Furthermore, you might need to share your winnings if there are more winners from the same category.

What Does This Mean For Frequent Punters?

By doubling the prize pool, it may appear that Toto have become more lucrative. However, that cannot be further from the actual truth. Singapore Pools adjusted the probability of winnings SIGNIFICANTLY by increasing the amount of numbers to 49. They also lowered the payout in some categories as well. In a nutshell, Toto punters now have a much smaller chance on winning despite paying a higher cost to purchase this glimpse of hope.

If you still feel that you are willing to part with the S$ 1, or more, of yours to buy a hope which is much smaller than before, it is definitely your choice. However we thought it is fair for us to point out the differences and how you stand to lose more, rather than gain in this new system.

This article was first published at dollarsandsense.sg