Singapore Scores Own Goal with Anti-Gambling Ad Featuring German Win

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.

"Often the people who suffer from problem gambling aren't the gamblers. Kick the habit. Stop problem gambling," the National Council on Problem Gambling says in the ad.

The council could not be reached for immediate comment.

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

Singapore government ministers, who regularly post comments on topical local issues, 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 anti-gambling campaign comes as some Singaporeans have been embroiled in one of the world's biggest match-fixing scandals. Last year, an inquiry 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 organization in 2005 -- before it allowed two multibillion dollar gaming resorts to open in 2010.

VOA News / Jul. 10, 2014 08:08 KST