Pakistan government launches crackdown on over illegal betting surrogate firms

In a major crackdown against illegal betting, the Pakistani government has targeted over 150 betting surrogate firms, which are said to have caused billions in losses to the nation’s economy. Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi stated that all government institutions, including the military, have come together to eliminate the illegal betting companies operating in the country.

Notably, gambling is prohibited in Islam and thus banned across Pakistan. According to Solangi, these companies operating and growing their presence in Pakistan are trying to normalise gambling and betting practices and some of these are even involved in the money laundering cases.

Just like in India, many illegal betting surrogate firms are promoting themselves through cricket as it is religiously followed in India and Pakistan. For example, the Pakistan Super League 2023 edition had several such brands as sponsors of our teams. Furthermore, even the Pakistan Cricket Board has had an illegal betting surrogate brand as the title sponsor for a series against New Zealand.

A source told The News that these firms are being operated from India and the revenue generated is transferred there. Also, several of the illegal betting platforms that operate in India also operate in Pakistan too.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued a notice on September 25 titled “Zero Tolerance for Surrogate Companies” urging the Pakistan Cricket Board, Pakistan Super League, its franchises, club cricket, TV channels, radio broadcasters, internet platforms, newspapers, magazines and others to stay away from signing deals with illegal betting surrogate brands and terminate existing ones.

The notification further indicated that the illegal betting firms in Pakistan are bringing corruption into various sports and send untaxed money out of Pakistan in dollars, which is a cause of concern.

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