Ahead of the Women’s Premier League (WPL), which will be held from March 4 - 26, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) issued a directive. The directive states that, the franchises of WPL are not allowed to enter or form any agreement on a commercial basis with businesses who are involved in cryptocurrencies, betting, gambling, real money or tobacco.
The BCCI has instructed the franchises of WPL that, ten days before the start of WPL, they have to submit copies of their commercial agreements. Further, they went on to state that violations of these regulations may result in disciplinary action.
However, there is no restriction for the franchises in entering into an agreement with fantasy sports companies.
In the past, surrogate advertising and commercials surrounding cryptocurrency were met with greater scrutiny. Speaking of cryptocurrency, in June last year, the Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI), wrote a letter to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance to restrict celebrities from endorsing a sector that was volatile in nature.
Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) stepped in to assert the fact that celebrities would be held accountable if the ads were found to be misleading. It said ‘Actors had to do their due diligence’.
Real money gaming went through a series of high and lows. Brands in the sector are struggling to bring in credibility. As per media reports, skill-based real money gaming, which accounts for more than half of this sector’s revenue, has come under fire from several state governments, including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and Karnataka. These states have banned or tried to ban skill-based real money gaming as gambling is a state subject.
Many of these bans were later challenged in the state courts by skill-gaming startups and industry associations, and the suspensions were overturned. In July 2021, the Supreme Court upheld fantasy sports as a skill-based game.
However, as per the report, in January 2022, Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar had said that the draft rules prohibit games that allow any form of betting or wagering on the outcome.