Former cricketer Gautam Gambhir didn’t mince words when he was asked about the bludgeoning rise of fantasy gaming firms in cricket and had no qualms about admitting that the players can’t be blamed when the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly himself endorses such leagues.
Nowadays, the advertisement slots for cricket matches at every level have been dominated by fantasy gaming platforms and betting apps. The fantasy leagues portray themselves as a game of skill rather than a game of chance to escape the legal hurdles in India. The betting apps though find their way through surrogate advertising.
“If the BCCI president (Ganguly) is doing it, you can’t expect other players not to do it,” said Gambhir to Indian Express. “If he says that no one should be allowed to do it, I think everyone should follow that … It has to come from the top. Either we should ban this completely in India. It can’t be statewise. And no one should be allowed to endorse that,” he added.
Gambhir noted that the IPL generates an overwhelming share of the revenue from the sponsorships of the fantasy platforms. Most of the teams have sponsorship contracts with these applications, and the IPL itself has Dream 11, the biggest player in this sector, as the chief sponsor.
“In the IPL, most of the endorsements and sponsorships are from fantasy league games such as Dream 11. It should be a collective decision from the BCCI whether we should allow this to happen or not,” he added.
Gambhir also added that he did endorse the fantasy platform for one year, but always rejected the proposal from the online betting app. “Never. I think Dinesh Karthik was once approached by a company, I don’t even remember what company it was. We were very clear that we were not going to endorse any betting site,” said Gambhir.
1XBet, the global betting firm that was banned in Russia a few years ago, is trying to enter the cricketing world. They had set up a blog by the same name and advertised that instead of the betting platform. Former cricketer Yuvraj Singh, the pugilist Mary Kom, and the actor Ranbir Kapoor, endorse 1XBet.
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