Illegal betting platform 1xBet sponsors esports tournament Skyesports Masters

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Jet Skyesports has announced banned betting platform 1xBet as one of the sponsors for its franchise-based esports tournament, Skyesports Masters. The press release from the esports tournament organiser states that this “collaboration brings together a major sponsor in the global Counter-Strike scene into the country”.

1xBet is a Cyprus-based online gambling company which was declared bankrupt by the Dutch Supreme Court earlier this year but continues to operate in several countries. Its domain was banned in India in February this year along with many other betting and gambling apps’ under Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

In the Indian subcontinent, 1xBet has sponsored sports teams through its surrogate brand, 1xBAT. With gambling and betting prohibited in the country the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has issued multiple advisories asking media organisations not to promote betting platforms and their surrogate brands.

As a result, it is evident that associating with these illegal platforms is not permitted as well. However, it appears that since no action is being taken against organisations choosing to promote them, Skyesports has taken this step to onboard 1xBet.

Notably, the esports tournament organiser has chosen to directly partner with the parent company rather than its surrogate. Incidentally, its CEO Shiva Nandy had met with senior officials of the central government last year in relation to drafting of online gaming rules for the esports industry.

Recently, 1xBet also sponsored the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) team Lyca Kovai Kings (LKK) through its surrogate brand, 1xBAT. Moreover, 1xBet also tied up with SpiceJet recently. The June issue of the latter’s in-flight magazine Spice Route contained a full-page advert on the back cover.

When it comes to sports events another Indian tournament has been sponsored by a banned betting website this year. One of the three ATP Challenger tennis tournaments, Bengaluru Open, was sponsored by DafaNews, a surrogate website of illegal betting outlet DafaBet, as the title sponsor. The term of the deal is three years.

Meanwhile, Skyesports Masters has also partnered with AMD and Microsoft Windows 11. The league stage of Skyesports Masters has already begun yesterday and will conclude on August 17. The playoffs will be held on August 26 and 27 in Mumbai.