Singapore anti-betting ad backfires

SINGAPORE - A Singaporean campaign group ridiculed for suggesting that Germany was a risky bet in the World Cup used the tournament's outcome Monday to drive home its anti-gambling addiction message -- and quickly got panned again.

The National Council on Problem Gambling (NCPG) was derided last week for a television commercial featuring a sad-looking boy named "Andy" telling friends his father had wagered the kid's savings on Germany.

It aired at half-time during the Germany-Brazil match, when the eventual champions were already ahead 5-0 en route to a 7-1 rout of the hosts that stunned the sporting world.

Even US late-night TV host Jimmy Fallon lampooned the Singapore ad.

But in an online post that appeared on the NCPG's website after Germany's 1-0 victory over Argentina in Sunday's final, one boy says to Andy: "Your dad's team won. Did you get your savings back?"

Andy, still looking despondent, replies: "No, dad never stops... he wants to bet one more time."

Twitter user "King Ming" wrote: "Why didn't my dad bet all my savings on Germany. Why?"

"Andy might be the richest primary school kid ever after tonight," another post said.

But another Twitter user, Benedict Koh, said it was a "smooth move" by the council after last week's gaffe.

The NCPG was set up in 2005 after Singapore announced the legalisation of casinos, now a massive industry in the city-state.

The 15-member council aims to fight excessive gambling and its adverse effects on families and society.

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