Test match between Sri Lanka and Pakistan filled with illegal betting adverts

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In the first Test match being played between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at Galle, several surrogate brands for illegal betting websites featured in adverts at the venue. The adverts seem to be restricted to boundary ropes and other on-ground brand placements, and aren’t promoting during over and innings’ break during the live broadcast.

FairPlay, MELBAT, and 1xBat are some betting firms spotted during the broadcast. This is not the first instance of illegal betting sites advertising in the country. 1xBat is also advertising during the ongoing for Afghanistan Tour of Bangladesh. In fact, 1xBat was the jersey sponsor for a bilateral series between Sri Lanka and Pakistan back in 2022.

FairPlay brand logo placement on boundary advertising boards
FairPlay brand logo placement on boundary advertising boards
1xBat brand placement on boundary ropes
1xBat brand placement on boundary ropes


There has been a considerable amount of regulation on betting and gambling activities in Sri Lanka. However, these illegal platforms find loopholes in the law and promote their platforms through their surrogate brands. Notably, 1xBat and FairPlay News are surrogate brands for illegal sites 1xBet and FairPlay, respectively.

Pakistan Super League was also plagued with advertisements for surrogate websites. Most of the team jerseys were sponsored by at least one surrogate brands for these offshore illegal betting websites.

While these illegal brands rope in more and more users through their surrogate brands, Sri Lankan government is busy forming a regulatory body for casinos. These surrogate websites usually redirect users to their betting website.

Illegal betting sites actively involved in celebrity promotion

India, on the other hand, is also plagued by these illegal betting websites, with several celebrities often doing promotional content for these websites. Popular rapper Badshah even signed up with fairplay to create an official anthem.

The government took various measures and asked people to refrain from promoting these illegal betting websites, but to no avail. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) recently released new gaming rules which will supposedly address these issues, but only time will tell.