Betting website blacklisted into India: During the crucial moments of the Asia Cup tournament that concluded on Sunday, the image of Yuvraj Singh – dressed in white, pumping his fists, holding a wide smile and a bat – will flash across the screen.
The former India cricketer was, on paper, promoting 1xBet, a ‘professional sportsblog‘. In reality, however, 1xBet is a controversial offshore betting website.
The online bookmaker, banned in several countries, including Russia, where it was founded, was blacklisted in 2019 by the UK Gambling Commission following a Sunday Times investigation that revealed 1xBet’s “brand use”. This was done to promote betting on the children’s sport, cockfighting and a ‘Pornhub‘ casino in which topless women act as cards”. Top football clubs competing in English Premier League clubs had their sponsorship contracts terminated due to blacklisting.
In addition, in June of this year, Norwegian football magazine Josimer reported that 1xBet, one of football’s biggest sponsors, “declared bankruptcy on the Caribbean island of Curaçao, where the company has a license that allows it to bet worldwide.” allows to apply”.
Now the same platform is trying to establish a foothold in India. Working under the banner of a ‘professional sportsblog’ to circumvent the rules, it has launched a marketing blitzkrieg which, Indian regulators said, could result in a ‘potential violation’ of the country’s laws.
And it’s not just 1xBet. Another betting website, Fairplay, too, has been on an advertising overdrive during the Asia Cup and US Open in an attempt to entice new customers.
With gambling and betting outlawed in India, these platforms set up sports news websites that provide match predictions and tips to aid them in surrogate advertising. Yuvraj is one of the ambassadors for 1xBet’s sportsblog, while actor Ranbir Kapoor and boxer Mary Kom support Fairplay’s news portal.
The government’s draft guidelines for deceptive advertisements under the Consumer Protection Act prohibit companies from surrogate advertising. “Advertising of goods or services, the advertising of which is otherwise prohibited or prohibited by law, shall not preclude such restrictions as advertising of other goods or services, the advertising of which is not prohibited or restricted by law,” said the draft guidelines issued in Is. August 2020.
Betting website blacklisted into India:
In June this year, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued an advisory to print, electronic and digital media to avoid advertisements from online betting platforms.
“Online betting advertisements are misleading, and do not conform to the advertising norms under the Consumer Protection Act 2019, the Advertising Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act, 1995 and the Norms of Journalistic Conduct. Press Council of India under the Press Council Act, 1978,” the ministry had said in a statement.
Manisha Kapoor, CEO and general secretary of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), told The Indian Express that it was “a matter for the judiciary and the states to see”.
“The mentioned advertisements are in potential violation of the law of the Government of India rather than the Code of ASCI. This is a matter for the judiciary and the states to look into in the interest of consumer protection and is outside the purview of the ASCI,” said Kapoor. “Having said that, we support the government at all times in monitoring such advertisements when demanded.”
Even after this, the matter continues to go out of control. In the past few years, especially during and after the pandemic, betting companies – through direct or surrogate methods – have been open to live sports events, especially during cricket matches, on major streaming services including Hotstar and Sony Liv. And advertising fast.
When contacted, Hotstar, SonyLIV, Board of Control for Cricket in India, Yuvraj Singh and 1xBet did not respond. Fairplay could not be reached for comment.
To place bets on these offshore websites, users must first create an account by sharing their personal information. In the case of 1xBet, a text message of the one-time password required for registration is given in Russian. Once logged in, users can bet on domestic and international matches in sports including cricket, kabaddi, volleyball, football, table tennis, basketball and tennis among others.
The website offers several payment options for users outside India, including e-wallets, cryptocurrencies, bank transfers and bank cards. The interesting thing is that when making a UPI transfer, instead of paying directly to 1xBet, the registered ID belongs to a private person and it changes regularly. Users are given a unique reference code to validate the transaction and the money is credited to the betting account through a third party within an hour instead of immediately.
Additionally, these websites – registered in tax havens such as Curacao and Cyprus – place the onus on the user to ascertain the legality of online betting. “When opening an account and/or using our website, you should ensure that your actions are legal in the region in which you reside. You also guarantee and agree that you have obtained legal advice prior to registering on our website,” the terms and conditions published on 1xBet state that it is applicable to “the United States, the United Kingdom, Cyprus, the Netherlands, etc.” Illegal in such countries. ,
All of these countries have banned 1xBet, established in Russia in 2007, for violating their betting and gambling laws. According to Spanish daily AS, the company has also been fined in countries such as Kenya, Poland, Israel and the Netherlands.
The company, however, continues to sponsor the two largest football clubs – Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain. However, it cannot be accessed legally in both Spain and France.
In India, 1xBet and FairPlay are the latest in a series of betting companies flooding the illegal market. In addition to advertising on TV and streaming sites, many offshore websites such as Dafabet and Parimatch have, in surrogate ways, sponsorship agreements with teams playing in domestic leagues in sports such as cricket, football and kabaddi.