Pakistan government cracks down on illegal betting surrogate firms

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The Pakistani government has launched a sweeping crackdown on over 150 illegal betting surrogate firms that have reportedly caused significant economic losses to the nation. Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Murtaza Solangi, announced that all government institutions, including the military, have united to eliminate these illicit operations.

In Pakistan, gambling is forbidden in Islam, and as a result, it is prohibited throughout the country. According to Solangi, these companies are attempting to normalize and promote gambling and betting practices, with some even being implicated in money laundering cases.

Similar to India, many of these illegal betting surrogate firms are using cricket as a means to promote themselves, given the sport’s widespread following in both countries. For instance, the 2023 edition of the Pakistan Super League had several of these brands as sponsors for teams. Additionally, the Pakistan Cricket Board had an illegal betting surrogate brand as the title sponsor for a series against New Zealand.

Sources have revealed that these illicit firms are operated from India, and the revenue generated is transferred there. Furthermore, it has been noted that several of the illegal betting platforms operating in India also have a presence in Pakistan.

In response to this issue, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued a notice on September 25 titled “Zero Tolerance for Surrogate Companies,” urging various entities, including the Pakistan Cricket Board, Pakistan Super League, TV channels, and others, to refrain from entering into deals with illegal betting surrogate brands and to terminate any existing agreements.

The notice emphasized that these illegal betting firms are introducing corruption into various sports and facilitating the movement of untaxed money out of Pakistan in dollars, posing a significant concern for the country.

The crackdown on these illegal betting surrogate firms reflects the government’s commitment to addressing the economic and social ramifications of their operations, with a specific focus on safeguarding the integrity of sports and preventing the outflow of untaxed funds from the country.