Customers buy lottery tickets in Singapore Pools shop from Shutterstock.com

MSF: Pathological gamblers gamble on average, $313 a month in 2014

The average monthly betting amount among probable pathological gamblers was $313 in 2014, stated the Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing.

This is in response to the questions filed by Mr Chen Show Mao, MP for Aljunied GRC, who asked the Minister for Social and Family Development for each year from 2006 to 2015 what has been the average spending by problem gamblers and what has been the respective percentage of the aggregate number of problem gamblers according to their household income deciles.

The Minister said that the Survey on Participation in Gambling Activities among Singapore Residents is commissioned by the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) every three years.
He noted that the survey includes screening questions to detect probable pathological gamblers, based on diagnostic criteria in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) developed by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
Mr Chan also said that the same diagnostic criteria have been used in similar studies in Hong Kong, Macau and the United States. However, he noted that the screening questions only capture the respondents’ self-professed behaviour and do not represent a clinical assessment of actual gambling disorders as the survey is conducted via face-to-face interviews.
Based on the latest survey in 2014, the proportion of respondents classified as probable pathological gamblers is 0.2%, compared to 2.1% in 2005, 1.2% in 2008 and 1.4% in 2011.
The average monthly betting amount among probable pathological gamblers was $313 in 2014, which has decreased from the average monthly betting amount of $637 in 2005, $619 in 2008 and $1,713 in 2011.
The surveys collected information on monthly personal income by income brackets, instead of the monthly household income.
Prevalence of Probable Pathological Gambling By Personal Income (Source : MSF).
Prevalence of Probable Pathological Gambling By Personal Income (Source : MSF).

Just recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced in September that Singapore Pools Private Limited (Pools) and Singapore Turf Club (STC) are suitable to be exempt operators under the Remote Gambling Act (RGA), therefore, they will be allowed to offer remote gambling services for their existing products, under a stringent set of conditions.

The RGA came into force in February 2015, taking a prohibitive stance against gambling. It prohibits remote gambling activities and provides law enforcement agencies with the powers to tackle remote gambling and its associated concerns.

In response to the exemption, many members of public have voiced their concern that by allowing the operators to operate online will allow greater access to gamblers, making it easier to be addicted to gambling or to worsen the condition.