Despite Govt advisories, surrogate betting brands continue as sponsors in top Indian sporting leagues

Published on:

Despite multiple government advisories and government crackdown on online betting and gambling syndicate Mahadev book, surrogate illegal offshore betting brands continue to flood Indian professional sporting leagues. The union government has blocked the domain names of these illegal offshore gambling portals several times in the past but they resurface with new domain names.

MI which owns India’s most crowned IPL champion Mumbai Indians ran a full page ad on 19 February in the Mumbai edition of Times of India to celebrate MI Emirates winning ILT20 championship. Incidentally, surrogate betting brand 1xbat has been mentioned as a principal partner. MI is owned by oil to telecom conglomerate Reliance.

Another surrogate brand Dafa News is one of the associate sponsors for Prime Volley Ball League featuring along side Indian public sector companies Indian Oil and State Bank of India. Besides this Dafa News is also one of the sponsors for Bengaluru Torpedoes and Delhi Toofans.

In India Super League, eight of the twelve teams are associated with surrogate betting brands like MelBet, Stake News, 1xBat, etc.

Similarly, in Pro-Kabbadi League, ten of the twelve teams are associated with surrogate betting brands. PariMatch News is the main principal sponsor for FC Goa and features prominently on the team website alongside established Indian brands Kingfisher, PayTm, and Bisleri. Last year, Dafanews and Parimatch Sports were spotted sponsoring a domestic T20 tournament in Karnataka.

In Ultimate Tennis League, surrogate betting brand Dafa News is an associate sponsor of the league where government owned Indian Oil is the title sponsor.

Sr. No. Team Name Sponsors
1 Mumbai Indians in ILT20 1xBAT (Principal Partner)
Premier Volleyball League
Dafa News (League Associate Partner)
Bengaluru Torpedoes Dafa News (Associate Partners)
Delhi Toofans Dafa News (Associate Partners)
Indian Super League (Soccer)
Bengaluru FC Dafa News
Chennaiyan FC MelBat (Principal Sponsors)
East Bengal FC Batery.AI
FC Goa Parimatch
Hyedrabad FC Stake News (Principal Partners)
Kerela Blasters FC 1xBat
Mohun Bagan Super Giant 1xBat (Principal Sponsors)
Mumbai City FC Stake News (Principal Partners)
Pro-Kabbadi League
Bengal Warriors Dafa News (Associate Sponsors)
U Mumba MelBat (Title Sponsor)
Jaipur Pink Panthers Fair Play
Dabang Delhi KC Fun88 (Title Sponsor)
Haryana Steelers Dafa News (Associate Sponsors)
Patna Pirates 1xBat (Title Sponsor)
Puneri Paltan Dafa News (Associate Sponsors)
Tamil Thalaivas 1xBat & Dafa News
Telugu Titans Dafa News (Principal Sponsors)
U.P. Yoddhas Dafa News (Principal Sponsors)
Ultimate Table Tennis
Dafa News (League Associate Sponsor)
U Mumba TT MelBat (Title Sponsor)
Dabang Delhi Fun88 (Title Sponsor)
Puneri Paltan 1xBat (Title Sponsor)


Surrogate websites promote betting and gambling under the garb of news and union government has issued multiple advisories asking advertising intermediaries to not promote surrogate betting brands. The union government in 2022 has also advised advertisement intermediaries to not target such advertisements towards Indian audience.

Despite such clear stance by the union government, established sports franchises continue to associate with surrogate brands with impunity. Featuring alongside established Indian brands these illegal betting portals aim to appear legitimate and create trust factor among the target audience base.

It is also shocking that well established Indian brands contribute to penetration of betting by promoting or featuring alongside surrogate betting brands.

India’s leading media houses continue to accept advertisements from offshore online betting and gambling companies, knowing fully well that the Information and Broadcasting ministry is loath to such display in public space. Ethics have been seriously compromised by media houses as well in return for premium rates that these offshore betting companies are prepared to dole out for front-page adverts.