Asia

Singapore own goal as anti-gambling advert backfires

World Cup anti-gambling advertisement at taxi stand in Singapore. 9 July 2014 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The ad's message is that those who suffer from gambling are not always the gamblers

A Singapore anti-gambling advert backfired after the football World Cup team it referred to - Germany - turned out to be the champions.

The ad featured a boy called Andy complaining to friends that his dad had bet his life savings on Germany winning the World Cup.

But after Germany's success, people took to social media, joking that Andy's father should be congratulated.

Officials updated the ad, with the boy's dad gambling away his winnings.

The National Council on Problem Gambling said last week it had chosen Germany in the advert to inject a sense of "realism" into its message.

It said the idea was to deter people from getting carried away by the World Cup hype.

Gambling popular

However, the ad was lampooned around the world after Germany thrashed Brazil 7-1 in the semi-finals and the mockery peaked when Germany beat Argentina 1-0 in the final.

Critics said that it was more likely to encourage people to gamble.

Singapore's trade and industry minister Teo Ser Luck wrote on his Facebook page: "Andy, okay you can stop smiling. Go get your savings from your daddy. Tell him please don't do this again and you get ready for school."

In the council's revamped advert, Andy's friend asks: "Your dad's team won. Did you get your savings back?"

"No, dad never stops," the boy replies. "He wants to bet one more time."

Gambling is hugely popular in Singapore but is tightly regulated.

Bets on football matches are only allowed to be placed through state-owned bookmaker Singapore Pools.

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