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BCCI ready to back fantasy apps, says Rajeev Shukla, stressing on talent promotion

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The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) enforced stringent restrictions in June 2023, placing a ban on various brand categories, including cryptocurrency, real money, alcohol, and tobacco, prohibiting their participation in the bidding for the IPL title sponsorship from 2024 to 2028.

The fate of fantasy platforms under these restrictions remains uncertain, as the BCCI has not issued a clear statement on the matter. Nevertheless, BCCI made headlines in July 2023 by announcing Dream11 as the new lead sponsor for Team India.

In an exclusive interview on UNFILTERED by Samdish, hosted on Samdish Bhatia’s YouTube channel, Rajeev Shukla, the Vice President of BCCI, shed light on the board’s stance regarding these apps. Shukla emphasized, “As long as they are promoting talent and providing expertise, it’s fine. But when apps venture into the gambling side, it becomes a thin line and things then get messed up.”

Addressing the possibility of legalizing betting in India, similar to England, Shukla expressed, “Our concern is that the match should not be fixed. You can’t stop betting; people in Hapur bet on whether it will rain or not. It’s the nature of man to bet and gamble, a tradition dating back to the Mahabharata.”

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) imposed a 28% tax on the entire value of online gaming, horse racing, casinos, and related ventures, effective from October 1, 2023.

A report by the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) in May 2023 highlighted the real-money gaming industry as a major violator of advertising regulations. Shockingly, the report disclosed that 92% of gaming ads reviewed during FY 23 did not adhere to real-money gaming guidelines, marking a concerning trend.

During the Asia Cup 2022, real money gaming apps such as FairPlay, Parimatch, and 1xBet were observed using surrogate advertising tactics, disguising themselves as news platforms while being betting companies. This tactic, reminiscent of strategies employed by alcohol and beverage brands, was identified as prevalent among major gaming industry players, including Mobile Premier League (MPL), A23 Games, WinZo, and My11Circle, among others.

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