BCCI instructs franchises to not partner with betting and gambling brands, fantasy sports excluded

Published on:

The five Women’s Premier League (WPL) franchises have been advised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that it does not have any issues with any of the commercial relationships with fantasy sports, but not with the cryptocurrency, betting, gambling, real money, or even tobacco sectors.

The first WPL season, 2023, will run between March 4 and 26. The BCCI cautioned the franchises that affiliations or branding with the prohibited brands could result in punitive actions that refer to as the “Commercial Workbook” and required them to provide copies of commercial agreements, if any, at least ten days before the start of the WPL season.

“No Franchisee shall undertake a partnership or any kind of association with an entity that is in any way connected/related to an entity that is involved/operates, directly or indirectly, in the betting/gambling/real money gaming/tobacco sector,” said the BCCI in a 68-page advisory according to Cricbuzz.

“The Franchisees may engage in partnerships with entities in the fantasy sports sector.”

The BCCI has also stated that violating their regulations will result in a penalty as outlined by the protocols, saying, “These guidelines form part of the WPL regulations, and any breaches of these guidelines will be dealt with as per the provisions of section 6 of the Operational Rules. Any breaches of the Clothing & Equipment Regulations will be dealt with as per the provisions of the Disciplinary process.

The franchisees should provide full details of the rights and benefits that will be utilized by their sponsors, not less than ten days before the start of the season, as per the franchise commercial deliverables sheet, which will be shared by the BCCI,” it further added.

A similar decision was also taken during the IPL 2022, wherein the governing body instructed the franchises to avoid any associations or partnerships with organizations connected to the betting, gambling, real money gaming, or even tobacco industries.

Indian Cricket’s apex authority also made an exception to fantasy sports. The documents specified that the franchises could collaborate with the fantasy sports industry. At the same time, the move was a little indiscriminately, as real money games like Poker and Rummy are also under the purview of a “game of skill”, as maintained by the Supreme Court.