A rise in surrogate betting companies infiltrating Pakistan cricket has led to concerns and actions from the government, establishment, and cricket authorities.
In 2021, these betting ads started appearing in Pakistan cricket, and by the time of PSL 2023, four out of six PSL franchises had betting surrogates as key sponsors, which went unregulated by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).
The government initiated a crackdown on over 150 surrogate betting companies operating in Pakistan, causing significant economic losses.
Caretaker Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi, along with other institutions and the military establishment, has taken steps to eliminate these betting companies, though no concrete action has been observed yet.
The PCB denies engaging any surrogate betting sponsors since the government’s “Zero Tolerance Against Surrogate Betting Companies” notification, emphasizing that there is no common ownership with betting concerns in their sponsorships. The PCB strictly prohibits any form of betting and related activities.
Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan refused offers from ‘Betting Companies’:
Allegations have also increased regarding players, with Pakistani stars Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan rejecting sponsorship offers from betting companies due to legal concerns. The PCB’s acceptance of a surrogate betting sponsor like Dafa News is said to have paved the way for illegal surrogate betting sites and apps in Pakistan.
Players have been compelled to accept shirt logos and provide image rights to these illegal betting companies. The PCB and PSL franchises allegedly forced players to wear surrogate betting company logos against their will, infringing upon their freedom of speech and rights.
The PCB’s code of conduct prohibits supporting activities associated with betting, gambling, and other prohibited practices, but the situation raises questions about adherence to these guidelines within Pakistani cricket.