Decline in gambling participation in Singapore in 2020

There has been a decrease in the rate of gambling participation in Singapore, according to the National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG).

In its 2020 Gambling Participation Survey, the NCPG found that 44% of Singapore residents aged 18 and over participated in at least one form of gambling activity, compared to 52% in the previous survey, conducted in 2017.

The overall probable pathological and problem gambling (PPPG) rates among residents remained low at 1.2%. But both the probable pathological gambling rate and the probable problem gambling rate did show an increase from 2017, with the former rising from 0.1% to 0.2%, and the latter rising from 0.8% to 1%.

The median monthly betting amounts, however, decreased from SG$30 (US$22.2) in 2017 to SG$15 in 2020. A total of 89% of gamblers bet SG$100 or less per month, while just 0.3% bet with large amounts of more than SG$1,000 per month.

“The gambling landscape continues to evolve rapidly,” said NCPG Chairman Tan Kian Hoon. “NCPG will work with the government to study gambling-related developments and advise on measures to strengthen protection of those vulnerable to the harms of gambling.

“To mitigate the risks of online gambling and gambling risks in electronic games, especially amid the pandemic, the NCPG will be stepping up our public education efforts on the risk of problem gambling. The NCPG will also continue to work with our partners to ensure that help services continue to remain accessible to everyone.”

The survey also found that frequent gamblers were more likely than non-frequent gamblers to have poor self-control when gambling, with those gamblers with poor self-control more likely to regret their gambling.

Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for Social and Family Development, commented: “The Government regularly reviews our regulatory framework and social safeguards across all gambling products to ensure they remain relevant in addressing new gambling products and trends.

“Amid emerging gambling products and risks, we must and will continue to protect individuals and their families from the harms of problem gambling – especially those who are more vulnerable. Families and the community continue to play an important role, including encouraging those affected by problem gambling to seek help early.”