|Soccer tipsters, calling themselves ‘analysts’ are doing brisk business in Singapore since the city state legalized soccer betting two years ago. Recently, according to Sports Illustrated, the English language daily newspaper ‘New Paper’ has begun carrying 3 full pages of ads devoted to premium rate phone numbers for companies such as “Platinum Soccer King” 'Supreme Players' (S$38 per call) 'Asian Insiders Network' (S$5.88 per minute) and 'Football Guru' (S$3.33 a minute).|
The 'analysts' offer tips on the English, Spanish, Italian, German and European leagues. The ads typically ask callers to phone in after 5 p.m Singapore time (0900GMT) on matchdays. The predominance of foreign soccer in Singapore means that local clubs in the domestic S-League often play to less than 500 fans.
But Singaporeans find the standard of the foreign football, and the betting, more attractive.
For S$4.99 a minute 'Bola (soccer) King' offered Arsenal as winner of the English Premiership game last Saturday between Bolton and Arsenal, after a two minute match analysis. Anybody with half an eye on the Premiership table would probably have come to the same conclusion, as Arsenal at that time were league leaders and Bolton in mid-table. However, Bola King was wrong – the game finished 1-1.
Others companies also offer tips via SMS (text message).
Soccer betting reached its peak during the World Cup last year, with total amounts wagered legally surpassing the S$500 million mark at Singapore Pools, the local Straits Times newspaper said. Betting agency Singapore Pools is a subsidiary of Temasek Holdings, the government's investment agency.
'This is not a gambling service. We are doing this as a public information service,' a source said, speaking on condition of anonymity, over the helpline for PSK. 'I think callers would be happy if we 'hit' two of three right.'
'We still get calls. So they (callers) must be OK with the prices and the service.'