SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is investigating after Singapore Pools' Toto online system was hit by two software errors affecting Quick Pick and System Roll bets.
"The Ministry of Home Affairs was recently notified by Singapore Pools of issues with its system that generates Toto Quick Pick and System Roll bets placed via remote platforms (Internet, mobile app and telephone)," MHA said in a media release on Wednesday (Jan 15).
Singapore Pools has since rectified both errors, the ministry said.
Singapore Pools said that both glitches occurred during a system update on Oct 2, 2018, which was conducted by a service vendor.
"Neither software glitch affected how the winning numbers were drawn for Toto," said Singapore Pools.
NUMBER 49 EXCLUDED
MHA said it was alerted to the first of the software errors on Jan 3 by Singapore Pools.
It affected the generation of Toto Quick Pick numbers purchased through remote platforms between Oct 2, 2018 and Dec 21, 2019, said MHA.
"The error resulted in the system excluding the number '49' and selecting numbers from '1' to '48' only, when generating Quick Pick numbers for customers placing bets via remote platforms," the ministry said.
The error was made known to Singapore Pools on Dec 18 last year and was fixed three days later.
The second issue, involving the generation of Toto Quick Pick system roll numbers, was uncovered by Singapore Pools on Dec 20, during efforts to resolve the first error.
The error was reported to MHA on Jan 10.
"The system ought to have randomly generated six numbers and then assigned 'R' in place of one of the six generated numbers, whereby 'R' would represent any of the remaining 44 numbers.
"However, the system replaced the largest of the six generated numbers with 'R' instead," said MHA.
On Jan 12, Singapore Pools received confirmation from the service provider that this was indeed an error and rectified the error the next day.
In its release, MHA said that errors with Quick Pick and System Roll affected only those who placed such bets on the Internet, the mobile app or on the telephone.
Customers who placed bets at Singapore Pools' outlets in person were not affected.
The bets made by affected customers constituted an estimated 3 per cent of total Toto sales, Singapore Pools said. It did not disclose what total Toto sales amounted to in its statement.
It added that it would refund affected customers for bets made in the 14 draws where the number 49 was drawn as a winning number.
A "goodwill token" will also be given to the group of customers who may have missed out on potential winnings in the 14 draws.
It is working out the details and will be reaching out to affected customers, it said.
MHA said it took "a very serious view of these errors" and was investigating the matter.
It added that it has directed Singapore Pools to "take all necessary measures to ensure the integrity of the betting system and to prevent recurrence".
The Singapore Totalisator Board will convene a review panel to assess Singapore Pools' handling of the issues and recommend further action as necessary, said the ministry. The panel will be chaired by Tote Board chairman Moses Lee.
MHA added that it will look into Singapore Pools' rectifications and preventive measures, while also noting that the operator was looking into remediation for affected customers.
In its press statement, Singapore Pools said it regrets the glitches, and that the system has been reviewed and the glitches fixed.
"Singapore Pools will be reaching out to affected customers to address their concerns and provide remediation," it said.
"Singapore Pools takes responsibility for this incident. The interests of customers remain its highest priority."
In response to CNA's queries, Tote Board said it was informed by Singapore Pools of the errors on Jan 4, after the lottery operator had filed a report with MHA. Singapore Pools did not say why there had been a delay in informing MHA.