DafaNews, PariMatch News and SBOTOP.net have gone beyond fantasy sports and cricket to seek opportunities with football teams.
India.- Although cricket remains India’s most popular sport, betting firms are increasingly reaching out to the country’s main football teams despite a ban on sports betting.
According to a recent report from India’s independent News Service (IANS), seven out of eleven teams in the Indian Super League (ISL) now have betting-related sponsors, as online gambling firms moving beyond the popular fantasy sports leagues and Indian Premier League cricket.
Online sports betting is banned in all states and union territories in India, except for Sikkim. Surrogate or misleading advertising is banned under the draft guidelines specified by the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. But the IANS report suggests that gaming companies are carrying out advertising under the guise of news.
It said: “Most of these are advertising in the garb of news entities. But the logos and the fonts used by these news units on jerseys are unmistakably similar to that of their parent companies, i.e. betting firms. Also, links of the parent betting websites are prominently advertised on the websites of these supposed ‘news’ platforms.”
DafaNews, PariMatch News, SBOTOP.net and Indinews are some of the brands involved in actions with clubs such as NorthEast United, Kerala Blasters, Chennaiyin FC, Mumbai City FC, ATK Mohun Bagan, FC Goa and Bengaluru FC.
DafaNews, in particular, is linked to Bengaluru FC, Chennaiyin FC and Mumbai City FC, who are part of a global chain of clubs owned by Abu Dhabi-owned City Football Group. The DafaNews website has multiple links to Dafabet, a betting company based out of the Philippines which is often advertised in the live telecast of the India-Australia cricket matches.
When asked about the sponsorship, Bengaluru FC owner Parth Jindal said that the club is associated with DafaNews as a news portal and not the betting website.
He added: “Mumbai City’s partnership with DafaNews is fully compliant with all regulations and we are looking forward to working with our new partner in this unique season ahead of us”.
NorthEast has PariMatch News as its main sponsor while Kerala Blasters have listed it as an “associate sponsor” and its logo is featured on the right sleeve of the team’s jersey.
SBOTOP.net was announced as a “principal team sponsor” of ATK Mohun Bagan and the website address features prominently on the club’s jersey. The website issues predictions and tips for a wide array of sports.
SBOTOP and SBOTOP.net share the same logo, but while SBOTOP.net offers content on cricket and football, SBOTOP is a betting website operated by Isle of Man-based Celton Max.
IANS says Indinews’s parent company is Indibet, a website that offers cricket-based betting odds and displays a Curacao gaming licence. Indinews is featured on the jerseys of FC Goa in the ISL.
All India Football Federation (AIFF) general secretary Kushal Das said that the association found no problems with the teams being sponsored by the websites.