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Cheryl Faith Wee
Monday, Jun 23, 2014

Singapore

Concern over S'pore Pools ad during World Cup telecasts

The Straits Times | Cheryl Faith Wee | Monday, Jun 23, 2014

A Singapore Pools television commercial shown before World Cup 2014 matches has raised concerns that it encourages gambling.

The 10-second advertisement airs before the live telecasts of matches and during half-time. It reminds viewers to "stay legal" with Singapore Pools, tells them about a $1 million lucky draw and directs people to the Singapore Pools website.

But some viewers feel that the ad could be too tempting for young people, and those who have a gambling problem.

Said Deborah Queck, executive director of Blessed Grace Social Services, which runs the Gamblers Recovery Centre: "Football fever is high at the moment and people can get caught up in the excitement... It (the advertisement) can trigger betting."

Some parents have similar concerns that such advertisements might encourage young people to place bets.

Linda New, a financial consultant in her 40s, has two sons, aged 17 and 18, who watch the live football telecasts.

She said: "Advertisements like this send mixed messages to viewers. Betting legally and illegally are both not good. At 18 years old, my son wants to try out new things, so it is not a good idea for the advertisement to be aired."

Singapore Pools is accepting bets for the World Cup, and showing the matches live at four of its outlets.

When contacted, a spokesman said: "The purpose of our television commercial is to inform viewers who wish to have a little flutter during the World Cup season to stay legal with Singapore Pools, instead of resorting to betting with illegal or online operators."

He added that the commercial is not aired during the repeat telecast of the matches at prime-time, when underaged viewers are likely to be watching.

A person has to be at least 18 years old to place bets with Singapore Pools, and at least 21 to do phone betting.

myp@sph.comsg

This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.

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