Free pass to match-fixing bookies? 1xbet sponsors bilateral Sri Lanka vs Pakistan test series

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1xbet, a betting website which is illegal in India, Pakistan and other sub-continent countries is now sponsoring a Test series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka through a surrogate brand 1xbat. As part of the tour of Sri Lanka, Pakistan will be playing a two match test series starting July 16 for winning the trophy sponsored by 1xbat.

The domain redirects to betting website (in India). Pakistan has seen a few match fixing instances in the past and a betting website sponsoring a test series is not a welcome step for the integrity of the gentleman’s game. The possibility of bookies getting access to players by virtue of sponsorship cannot be ruled out.

Pakistan prohibits betting and gambling and relies on the British era Public Gambling Act, 1867 which is similar to laws in force in India and Bangladesh. Due to the strict laws, the Indian sub-continent remained an untapped market for the betting sector till now.

Pakistan is a conservative country and the opposition protested when surrogate websites sponsored the teams in Pakistan Premier League 2021. Now, the national team is playing team is a series sponsored by a betting website.

The issue is much to do with the Sri Lankan board as it is the host for the series. Hit by severe economic crises, the country has seen fierce protests against the ruling Rajapaksa clan. These foreign team visits (Australia tour last month) will help the Lankan board to earn some revenue and stay afloat. But traditional sponsors do not have enough money, and this is where 1xbet with its huge coffers can influence and gain sponsorship.

In India too, betting websites use surrogate websites in guise of news to promote betting businesses. Earlier we have identified Dream11 promoting a surrogate website for betting site 1xBet. Targeting similar surrogate promotions, the Indian government recently came up with guidelines banning surrogate advertising.