updated 14 Jun 2010, 19:41
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Fri, Jun 11, 2010
The Nation/ANN
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Parents told to be wary of child gambling

A network of child advocacy groups yesterday expressed concern over an opinion poll in which young respondents said they were not worried about being caught and arrested for illegal football gambling during World Cup 2010.

The network also issued an open letter to Education Minister Chinnaworn Bunyakiat to impose strict measures in schools while implementing a campaign to discourage students from betting on football during the onemonth global football competition.

In its proposal, the network said volunteers and parents should be organised to provide surveillance around schools where illegal bookmakers offered punting services. A network of schoolchildren should also be set up to provide tipoffs on schoolmates who were betting.

A May 414 opinion poll, surveying 2,541 people from 12 to 60 years of age, found more than half believed football gambling would be rampant in this year's World Cup, especially with numerous online betting services. Local media outlets including certain daily football newspapers, although aimed at adult readers, were also encouraging students to bet.

The survey found that nearly one fourth of young respondents (24.2 per cent) said they had no worries about being prosecuted if arrested. Asked about sources of the money they wanted to place on bets, 43 per cent said they would borrow from friends, 24 per cent from their girl/boyfriends, 20 per cent from parents, 9.7 per cent from pawning their assets, and 7.5 per cent from loan sharks.

In order to prevent young students from staying up to watch live latenight matches, plans are being considered for reruns of recorded World Cup matches one day after they were played. Deputy Education Minister Chaiyos Jiramethakorn proposed the idea to PM's Office Minister Ongark Klampaiboon.

Chinaworn called on parents to check their children's spending and records of home or mobile phone use for frequent calls to detect possible contact with bookmakers during and after the onemonth football event. He cited a study by Kasikorn Bank that there could be as much as Bt9 billion circulated among football punters and illegal bookmakers.

Bangkok police chief Pol LtGeneral Santhan Chayanont claimed many tipoffs to authorities had been received after police announced they welcomed crimerelated leads from the public. He said all tipoffs were checked and would be further acted on if verified.


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