Singapore anti-gambling ad turns into World Cup hot tip

SINGAPORE Wed Jul 9, 2014 6:27pm IST

A man walks past a World Cup anti-gambling advertisement at a taxi stand in Singapore July 9, 2014. REUTERS/Edgar Su

A man walks past a World Cup anti-gambling advertisement at a taxi stand in Singapore July 9, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore has scored an own goal with its World Cup anti-gambling ad which features a crestfallen boy telling his friends his dad bet his life savings on Germany - who have just reached the finals by thrashing host nation Brazil 7-1.

The video, which has run every day of the World Cup, went viral on social media soon after the Brazil game ended and Singapore government ministers were quick with some tongue-in-cheek remarks.

"Looks like the boy's father who bet all his savings on Germany will be laughing all the way to the bank!" Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin wrote on his Facebook page.

"Germany beat Brazil 7-1! Brazil need to find out what went wrong and I need to find the script-writer for the gambling control advertisement," appropriately named Minister for Trade and Industry Teo Ser Luck said in another post.

The National Council on Problem Gambling said the ad was a timely reminder of the possible effects of gambling on loved ones and not to get carried away in the "excitement and hype" of the World Cup.

"Selecting Germany injected a sense of realism in our messaging, since no one will bet on a potentially losing team," a spokesman said. "At the end of the day, win or lose, the dangers of problem gambling, and the potential anxiety and pain that loved ones go through, remain unchanged."

The anti-gambling campaign comes as some Singaporeans have been embroiled in one of the world's biggest match-fixing scandals. Last year, an enquiry by European police forces uncovered a global betting scam run from Singapore.

The affluent city-state, known for its strict law and order, has been pulling out all stops to stamp out illegal betting.

Gambling is so entrenched that the government launched the anti-gambling organisation in 2005 - before it allowed two multi-billion dollar gaming resorts to open in 2010.

(Editing by Anshuman Daga and Nick Macfie)

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