Singapore sees long queues to buy tickets for S$5mil jackpot prize

Punters queueing up to buy Toto tickets in Hougang on Feb 3, 2021.ST

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): Queues continued at Singapore Pools outlets across the island on Wednesday (Feb 3) as punters lined up to buy tickets in hopes of winning the jackpot prize of $5 million.

Tickets for the annual Toto Reunion Draw started on Monday across all outlets, drawing lines of punters for a shot at the draw which will be held at 9.30pm on Friday. Outlets have also extended their operating hours to 9pm till Friday.

To ensure compliance with the Covid-19 safe management measures, Singapore Pools has deployed additional staff during this period, said a spokesman.

"The health and safety of our customers, employees and the public remain our top priority," she said.

The Straits Times visited several Singapore Pools outlets located at Bendemeer, Bishan, Hougang, Toa Payoh and Yishun on Tuesday and Wednesday, and saw the queues were significantly longer on Wednesday, especially during lunchtime. There were generally about 30 to 35 punters in the queues and most of them were middle-aged or older.

The team found that there were ground staff managing the queues in some of the outlets and none at others, and many punters did not use the SafeEntry check-in when entering the premises. But they observed safe distancing and stood behind floor markers, with some minor lapses when retrieving the betting slips.

Despite the queues, punters were able to place their bets within five to 15 minutes.

Several interviewed told ST they were not too worried about their safety or the risk of exposure to the virus.

A 29-year-old punter who wished to be named as Jun, was placing bets for his parents and himself at the Yishun Avenue 5 outlet.

He said: "Generally Singapore is quite safe, I feel okay, I don't really feel afraid or anything, it's just normal."

Another punter, a freelance tutor who wanted to be known Tan, 60, had placed his bets at the Bishan Street 24 outlet. He said in Mandarin that he felt that the social distancing measures in place were adequate and ensured the safety for those in the queue.

Over at the Lorong 1 Toa Payoh outlet, Patrick Loh, 37, said that, as the safe distancing measures have been in place for many weeks, he is used to them. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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