Gambling PSA uses terrible example and ends up teaching the wrong lesson
Jul 9, 2014 at 12:11p ET
The Singapore-based National Council on Problem Gambling had very good intentions with a 30-second advertisement concerning problem gambling but the warning may be overshadowed by its unintentional lesson that sometimes gambling does pay -- a lot.
In the spot “Kick the Habit,” a bunch of little kids happily discuss who they think will win the World Cup until the Full House moment at the end, when poor Billy confesses that his father has bet his life savings on Germany to win the whole thing. Germany! Have a watch and let’s discuss further.
Billy’s dad is feeling REALLY good about himself right now. In fact he must have been picturing himself diving into a pool of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck only 30 minutes into Germany’s semifinals smackdown on Brazil on Tuesday. (Sometimes crazy props pay, too!)
Now we know that Billy’s dad isn’t exactly prudent, because no sane man should ever bet his life savings or his kid’s life savings on a game, however miniscule. That said -- he did, and now he stands to profit handsomely if he decides to hedge his Germany bet with a wager on Argentina or Netherlands to go the distance, for which he’d get pretty favorable odds on both right now. Of course the fictional father could let it ride on Germany.
So the other lesson is that the National Council on Problem Gambling made a bad bet on Germany as its example of a poor investment. Germany was among the pre-tournament favorites to win the trophy (11/2, per Bovada.lv) and a top seed.
Hindsight is 20/20 but the council would have fared much better with a longshot example like Costa Rica (1000/1), which made it far enough into the tournament that Billy’s father felt some rush but then viewers would understand that the family’s financial hopes and dreams crumbled, ultimately laying on the floor like a shredded betting ticket.