SG News (Straits Times)

Charities confident about Tote Board funding

By September 16, 2020 No Comments
Though Singapore Pools is suspending betting for a month, which could affect sectors that depend on donations and grants from the Tote Board, some charities are confident their operations will not be compromised.

Though Singapore Pools is suspending betting for a month, which could affect sectors that depend on donations and grants from the Tote Board, some charities are confident their operations will not be compromised.

With Singapore Pools suspending all forms of betting for a month to comply with the Government’s latest measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic, its annual revenue will likely be affected.

This could, in turn, have a knock-on effect for various sectors that depend heavily on grants and donations from the Tote Board, which oversees Singapore Pools and the Singapore Turf Club (STC).

However, charities The Sunday Times spoke to remain confident their operations will not be compromised nor will there be a decrease in financial support.

Fei Yue Community Services, a non-profit voluntary welfare organisation that has services and programmes for children, youth, family, seniors and inmates, receives more than $1 million annually for its programmes.

Its executive director Leng Chin Fai said the Tote Board’s commitment for this financial year starting April 1 – which is disbursed quarterly – has already been confirmed.

He added: “Personally, I’m not worried because I don’t think their contributions will be cut. Betting will stop for only a month, and I’m sure the Tote Board has more than enough reserves…

“Depending on our programmes, the funding can come from the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Community Chest and the Tote Board. I have no notification from the National Council of Social Service to indicate any forms of funding will be cut.”

In the last financial year that ended in March last year, Singapore Pools collected almost $8.1 billion from lotteries and sports betting, while the STC took in $1.06 billion in turnover from horse racing.

After deducting prizes, dividends, betting tax and commission paid, the Tote Board was left with $764 million. In the year ending March 31 last year, it disbursed $488 million to organisations in arts and culture ($30 million), social service ($259 million), community development ($37 million), education ($12 million), health ($34 million) and sports ($116 million).

There are more than 2,000 registered charities here and they collected a record $2.9 billion in the 2016 financial year, up from $2.7 billion the year before. The 2016 figures are the latest available.

National sports associations, as registered charities, receive grants from the Tote Board as well.

The Singapore Shooting Association (SSA) received more than $4 million last year, with a big portion going towards overseas competitions.

SSA president Michael Vaz said: “If there are any cuts, we will just have to adjust accordingly, and our shooters may have to go for fewer overseas competitions or training stints. This, in turn, will hurt our competitive edge.

“We hope that there will be no cuts because we are gunning for the Olympics. But these are unusual times and we can take nothing for granted.”

ENOUGH FUNDING

I don’t think their contributions will be cut. Betting will stop for only a month, and I’m sure the Tote Board has more than enough reserves… Depending on our programmes, the funding can come from the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Community Chest and the Tote Board. I have no notification from the National Council of Social Service to indicate any forms of funding will be cut.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR LENG CHIN FAI, of Fei Yue Community Services, says the Tote Board’s commitment for this financial year has already been confirmed.

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