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Fiona Simmons April 14, 2023 3 min read
ICC Greenlights Gambling Sponsorships in Bilateral Games
Certain cricket ambassadors were surprised by the decision and voiced their concerns about the integrity of the sport
The International Cricket Council is mellowing down on its stance on gambling sponsorships. The organization is set to allow sponsorships on player attire and equipment in international bilateral matches, increasing the visibility of betting brands.
The change was proposed in November but rejected. After several teams displayed gambling sponsorships, ICC agreed to further discuss the matter during a March meeting in Dubai. Eventually, the Chief Executives Committee (CEC) agreed to lift some of the restrictions. The change is effective from April but sponsorships will still be prohibited in major ICC tournaments.
CEC secretary Clive Hitchcock commented on the matter, saying that the ban would have prevented certain teams from presenting their sponsorship logos in their country. Seeing that teams are signing agreements with operators, the committee felt that the members should be able to freely decide whether to use their betting logos in bilateral and domestic cricket.
In addition, the number of logos permitted on player equipment during Test and ODI matches will be increased. At the same time, colored clash kits will no longer be mandatory in ICC events and bilateral cricket.
Gambling Sponsorships Are Increasingly Controversial
The legalization of kit sponsorships in bilateral games is a major development for the cricket sector. However, it comes amid a time of intense scrutiny for gambling sponsorships in professional sports. Certain mature markets, especially ones in Europe, are becoming more and more critical of sports betting ads and sponsorship, claiming that they send children the wrong message and encourage problem gambling.
Because of that, Forbes reported, some people were shocked at the news. Certain cricket administrators were outraged, with one noting that corruption in sports is oftentimes linked with betting. That administrator added that he realizes that betting is legal in many markets but still considers the measure to be “hypocritical.”
In Britain, many anti-gambling activists promote the idea of a gambling-free Premier League. The intense opposition demands an official ban on all gambling sponsorships in the league. Meanwhile, the EPL is seeking compromise with these people and has agreed to remove the front-of-shirt sponsorships, instead moving logos to its players’ sleeves. Unfortunately, this may not be enough as some have slammed the move as “incoherent.”
Despite the scrutiny gambling sponsorships may attract, they can benefit professional cricket a lot. Now that players can feature gambling logos on their equipment, they can secure additional revenue streams that will nurture the sector.
Cricket has always been able to attract bettors. Because of that, BetDEX, a Web3 sports betting exchange, recently expanded its offering, adding Indian Premier League markets to its platform. The addition was praised as a major milestone by the company CEO, Varun Sudhakar.