Illegal offshore betting websites sign AB de Villiers and Brendon McCullum as brand ambassadors

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Former international cricketers AB de Villiers and Brendon McCullum have signed up as brand ambassadors of offshore betting companies Fairplay and 22BET respectively. De Villiers and McCullum are former captains of their national teams, South Africa and New Zealand, respectively. Incidentally, McCullum is the current head coach of the England men’s Test team.

Both the cricketers promoting these websites by way of being the face of the brands might lure in young people and cricket fans from India to use these offshore gambling websites as cricket has a huge fan following and cricketers have the potential to influence consumer decisions massively.

Recently, the Indian government and the I&B Ministry have issued several notices to OTT and TV operators to not promote these offshore gambling brands. The government has even banned the websites but the offshore brands usually bypass the ban by changing the web address.

Offshore companies also use the method of surrogate advertising to promote their original websites. Signing up well known cricketers like De Villiers and McCullum as brand ambassadors is part of surrogate advertising as it helps to lure in more people.

Despite all these efforts these offshore websites have seen a surge in recent months due to the rapidly growing gaming sector of India. The Indian gaming sector is also dubbed as the fastest growing gaming market in Asia after China by several analysts.

Another huge threat these offshore gambling websites pose is uncertainty. Since these websites can be banned anytime by the government, people can lose their money. Many of these websites have fake links that can dupe unsuspecting users as well.

The government has released several new guidelines under Consumer Protection Act, 2019 in order to combat surrogate advertising by these illegal offshore gambling websites and create awareness among the masses about their illegality.