Lee Kuan Yew's death spurs betting on key numbers

Gambling-crazy Singaporeans are capitalising on the demise of Lee Kuan Yew by picking four-digit lottery numbers based on his time of death, or other combinations associated with the former prime minister.

Singapore: Gambling-crazy Singaporeans are capitalising on the demise of Lee Kuan Yew by picking four-digit lottery numbers based on his time of death, or other combinations associated with the former prime minister.

Most numbers linked to Lee's death - including his date of birth and the digits on the licence plate of the hearse that carried his remains to the Istana state complex for a wake - have been sold out, a regular punter told AFP.

Lee died yesterday in hospital at 03:18am (local time). His birth date is 16/09/1923 and the hearse's number plate was 8898.

"Your bet cannot be processed. The board is sold out," said an automated message when an AFP reporter tried to place a bet on the number combination "0318", using a phone keyboard.

Number combinations relating to Lee's birth date and day of death were also sold out.

Some Singaporean motorists habitually stop or slow down during traffic accidents to note the licence plate numbers of the cars involved - and then place bets on them.

Gambling, like other activities seen as undesirable, is tightly controlled in Singapore.

State-linked Singapore Pools is the only legal lottery and football betting operator, while the Singapore Turf Club has sole rights to take bets on horse racing.

But many place bets with illegal outfits that offer higher returns. 

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