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Second Reading Speech By Lim Hng Kiang, Second Minister For Finance, On The Singapore Totalisator Board (Amendment) Bill, at The Parliament, 19 April 2004

21 Apr 2004

Mr Speaker, Sir, I beg to move, "That the Bill be now read a second time."

2 The Bill seeks to amend the Singapore Totalisator Board Act so that the Board may acquire Singapore Pools Pte Ltd from Temasek Holdings.

3 At present, the Government grants Singapore Pools, a company under Temasek Holdings, the right to conduct 4D, Toto, Singapore Sweep and football betting. The Singapore Totalisator Board, on the other hand, operates 4D and betting on horse races. Both Singapore Pools and the Totalisator Board each separately manage the donation of the surpluses that they generate from their gaming operations.

4 MOF proposes to have the Totalisator Board acquire Singapore Pools, with the Board then holding the right to operate all legalised gaming activities in Singapore.

5 There will be no change to the donation outreach and commitments arising from the Totalisator Board's acquisition of Singapore Pools. The Totalisator Board will honour all of Singapore Pools's ongoing donation commitments. In fact, the merger will bring together the donation approaches of both organisations for more holistic results. The Board will employ both a "wholesale" and "retail" approach towards disbursements of donations. For the "wholesale" approach, the Board will work with partner organisations such as our universities, the National Medical Research Council, the Singapore Symphony Orchestra and our community centres to disburse large donations towards strategic areas, such as the promotion of education, health, the arts and community development. The Totalisator Board will at the same time take a "retail" approach to disburse donations directly to smaller organisations and individuals serving unmet needs within the community.

6 Singapore Pools will become an operating company under the Totalisator Board. It will continue to conduct 4D, Toto, Singapore Sweep and football betting operations on behalf of the Totalisator Board. The Turf Club, on the other hand, will stop operating 4D. It will instead concentrate on horse racing and totalisator operations.

7 I now turn to the main provisions of the Bill.

8 First, the Bill will allow the Totalisator Board to conduct football betting operations and all lotteries. At present, the Singapore Totalisator Board Act allows the Totalisator Board to carry out only 4D and totalisator operations in relation to horse racing, but not other lotteries or football betting. Clause 4(1) of the Bill allows the Board to operate any gaming or betting activities as prescribed by the Minister for Finance.

9 Second, the Totalisator Board Act currently only allows the Board to form companies but not to acquire companies. Clause 5(1) of the Bill provides the Board with the power to acquire companies as well. This will enable the Board to acquire Singapore Pools.

10 Third, Clause 6 of the Bill will expand the size of the Board of Directors from a maximum of 7 members to 12 members, including the Chairman. This is to enable the Board to better carry out its new functions.

11 Finally, I would like to propose consequential amendments to the Betting Act. The Betting Act, as it stands now, allows the Minister for Home Affairs to exempt only racing clubs or associations from the Act. The consequential amendments to the Betting Act will give the Minister for Home Affairs the power to exempt persons and organisations other than the Singapore Turf Club from the Act. This will allow the Totalisator Board and its operating agents which carry out legalised gaming to be exempted from the provisions of the Betting Act.

12 Sir, I beg to move.