Former star footballer explains illegal betting app ad

By Thien Anh   June 2, 2021 | 03:00 am PT
Former star footballer explains illegal betting app ad
A screenshot of Le Cong Vinh in a promotional video for a betting app disguised as a football streaming service.
Le Cong Vinh has received backlash for his appearance in an advertisement for an illicit betting app.

Vinh, a former star striker, appeared in two videos to promote a so-called "football streaming" app, which turned out to be an unauthorized betting platform. In the videos, Vinh confirmed many times the app was "his number one choice." In some shots, the former national player even signed a contract to become its "brand ambassador" and danced while wearing a shirt bearing the app logo.

The advertisement introduced the app as a football streaming service, though in fact, it is a betting site in disguise. The incident has caused controversy, with many believing Vinh’s action not only confused the audience but also had a negative influence on younger people.

On Monday, via his Facebook fanpage with nearly three million followers, Vinh addressed the incident. He said he signed the contract to allow the app to use his image since they said it was a football streaming app that has nothing to do with betting.

"I have never accepted an offer to promote any form of betting. The betting app is using my image without permission," Vinh wrote.

Vinh emphasized he really hates betting since it is illegal. Later, his agent hired a lawyer to handle the case. Vinh announced the termination of the contract between him and the betting site and requested them to remove all of his images, videos and statements from all platforms. If this is not done within 24 hours, legal action would be taken.

Vinh also revealed that recently, he had turned down many advertising deals for unknown brands that sell dietary supplements and betting sites, since he refuses to support unethical behavior that could harm others just for the money.

"I’m so sorry for this incident and from now on I will never accept promotion deals for any football app again," Vinh said.

"Betting is a bad behavior that can harm the community and society. It’s an illegal act that should be strongly condemned. I hope everyone can stay wise to avoid going down that path," he added.

Vinh, 35, is the all-time top scorer for Vietnam with 51 goals. He helped Vietnam win the 2008 AFF Cup with a header scored against Thailand in the dying moments of extra time. That was Vietnam’s first ever AFF Cup title.

Gambling is considered by Vietnam a "social evil" that needs curbing. Stories of locals breaking the long-running gambling ban, creating a lucrative illegal industry for online betting, are common. A number of high-profile online operations have been busted in recent years.

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