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Info ministry moves to stop gambling advertising companies

Advises PCB, PSL franchises to not have agreements with such firms
Karachi Kings’ Shoaib Malik (R) plays a shot as Multan Sultans’ catapin wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan watches during the Pakistan Super League T20 cricket match between Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans at the Multan Cricket Stadium in Multan on February 22, 2023. AFP
Karachi Kings’ Shoaib Malik (R) plays a shot as Multan Sultans’ catapin wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan watches during the Pakistan Super League T20 cricket match between Karachi Kings and Multan Sultans at the Multan Cricket Stadium in Multan on February 22, 2023. AFP

The information ministry has advised the cricket board, national T20 cricket league franchise, club cricket, and TV channels to terminate all contracts with surrogate companies, as the government moves to stop gambling advertising companies.

“Surrogate companies are affecting Pakistan’s economy,” the ministry said in a statement shared by the PTV News on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday.

The development comes months after many journalists and sports experts raised concerns over some of the Pakistan Super League teams’ decision to join hands with surrogate companies–allegedly betting companies.

In the last edition of the PSL, at least five new companies – 1XBAT, MCW Sports, Wolf777News, BJ Sports, and MelBat – started sponsoring the franchise teams. Moreover, DafaNews was also one of the sponsors of the PSL season eight.

“PCB, PSL franchise, club cricket, TV channels, radio broadcasters, internet platforms, newspapers, magazines, and other platforms should not enter into agreements with these companies,” the ministry said.

The ministry ordered all bodies to terminate contracts with surrogate companies.

Surrogate advertising is used to market the banned product with a new name or product. It uses a product of a relatively close variety or totally varied category to instill the name of the brand into the minds of the consumers.

Many alcohol and tobacco companies practice such procedures. According to reports, such practices cause billions of rupees in losses to the governments as the amount sent on awareness against such products was more than the tax earned from the companies that make them.

Earlier this year, the Peshawar High Court issued notices to the federal government, Federal Investigation Agency, and other respondents seeking their response to a petition against the sponsorship of the recently-held PSL by international betting companies and casinos through the alleged surrogate advertising.

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