Prime Minister Hun Sen appealed to Cambodians on Monday to avoid betting on football matches at the World Cup in Russia, noting potential negative effects, even though he himself admitted to betting overseas, with an observer saying his appeal will fall on deaf ears.
“I appeal to our people . . . do not bet on the football matches. Please don’t do it,” he urged.
“Don’t bet on [the 2018 World Cup]. In other countries, I know that people have committed suicide by jumping from buildings because they lost too much money.”
However, Hun Sen acknowledged that he occasionally gambles on football games for fun, with no money changing hands, claiming that he has been doing well, without disclosing who he has been betting with.
He has also previously admitted to placing a bet on the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather boxing bout in 2015.
“Don’t, don’t become indebted because of gambling on football. Actually, I have bet, but it’s not betting with money. So far I have won 12 matches,” he said.
San Chey, the country director of the NGO Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said he doesn’t expect Hun Sen’s appeal to be followed by the people, even though gambling is illegal in the Kingdom for Cambodians.
“[Hun Sen’s] appeal does not mean there will be more legal action. We don’t think [his appeal] will be effective,” he said.