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Singapore Anti-Gambling Council Loses Big On World Cup Ad

We bet that the folks in Singapore who produced this anti-gambling TV ad wish they could have a do-over:

The 30-second public service announcement features a group of boys talking about the World Cup. They each support a different team. Then the mood quickly turns as one boy says he hopes Germany wins because, "My dad bet all my savings on them."

As we know now, Germany trounced Brazil in an unprecedented 7-1 victory and is headed to the final against Argentina on Sunday. So the point of the public service announcement, as laudatory as it might be, doesn't exactly come across.

At least Singaporean officials who had a hand in the television spot, which has run every day of the World Cup, have had a sense of humor about it. Reuters notes they 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 Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon had some fun with the spot last night. Goal.com says:

"Fallon played the ad during his opening monologue drawing huge laughter from his studio audience as the clip rolled to an end.

" 'Cheer up kid, your dad bet on Germany!' Fallon joked. 'He's so rich you don't even need to go to college anymore!' "

" 'Also, how much could be in the kid's savings, he's 8 years old!' he added before jokingly claiming the amount was $17.25."

None of this, of course, minimizes the importance of the message about problem gambling in Singapore.

The city-state's English-language daily The Straits Times quotes a spokesperson for the National Council on Problem Gambling, which produced the spot, as defending it.

The spot is meant to be a "timely reminder to those who bet on soccer not to get carried away in the excitement and hype of the World Cup and let their gambling affect their loved ones," the spokesperson says, according to the Times.

"Selecting Germany injected a sense of realism in our messaging, since no one will bet on a potentially losing team," she added.

"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," she says.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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