Illegal betting in Nepal on the rise

Advertisement for illegal betting seen in international tournament organized by Cricket Association Nepal

KATHMANDU: It has been found that the Cricket Association Nepal  (CAN) has advertised and promoted illegal betting during the Tri-Nations Twenty20 series which started at the Tribhuvan Cricket Ground in Kirtipur from yesterday. During the ongoing match between Nepal and the Netherlands at the Tribhuvan Cricket Ground in Kirtipur, the online betting company DafaBet had been advertised on the ground and around the boundary line.

Nepal’s law completely prohibits betting and gambling. However, advocate Baburam Aryal says that it is against the law for CAN to advertise illegal business by violating the law during the organization of the international cricket tournament, which has returned to Nepal after a year and a half.

“Nepal’s law completely prohibits betting. Advertising and promoting anything that is prohibited by law through any means is a violation of the law,” advocate Aryal told Nepal Press.

However, it is clear from the statement of Secretary Ashok Nath Pyakurel that CAN was negligent even though it knew that betting was illegal. When asked about the advertisement for illegal business, CAN Secretary Pyakurel said that the company responsible for organizing the competition, Zohra Sports Management, had sought the advertisement and that they were talking to them about it.

“We have also talked to Zohra Sports about its legitimacy,” said Secretary Pyakurel. “If it has to be removed, we will remove it immediately.”

It is clear from Secretary Pyakurel’s statement that CAN is ready to remove the advertisement immediately if there is any legal impediment. 

“We talked to Zohra Sports about it once. However, as the work done by this company is illegal in Nepal, it cannot be done from here, so it will not make much difference,” said Pyakurel.

Isn’t it funny to hear this coming from CAN Secretary Pyakurel? If a company has no benefit by advertising here, then why advertise in Nepal?

Yes, this is just an excuse. Lately, while stakeholders in Nepal are asleep, illegal betting is on the rise. Companies including 1XBet, Bet 365 are operating betting illegally in Nepal and are also promoting it. However, the government’s indifference indicates tacit support. As a result, new companies are beginning to make Nepal a ‘fertile land’ of betting day by day.

On top of that, it is easy to predict that the advertisement of such acts from international level competitions will help in this illegal act. Also, the extent to which the supreme body of a game like cricket being the front of the advertisement helps businesses like this ‘pick up’ will be seen in the coming days.

However, Som Dhital, president of the Nepal Advertising Association, says that it is a crime to advertise betting which is prohibited by the law of Nepal.

“Nepal’s law prohibits betting or gambling,” he told Nepal Press. “Such business is encouraged when a body like CAN advertises such a thing. No one, be it a citizen or an organization within Nepal, has the right to do and promote what is prohibited by law. If this happens, legal actions will be drawn.”

Even if a phone call is enough to understand whether DafaBet’s ad is legal or illegal, it may not be wrong to say that CAN is trying to dodge this by saying that discussions are in place. 

It is not that CAN is unaware about this. “The International Cricket Council (ICC) has a code of what to advertise and what not to advertise,” said Pyakurel, CAN’s Secretary General. “The law of the country in which the competition is to be held must also be fully complied with.” 

What is ‘DafaBet’?

DafaBet is a Makati based online betting company in the Philippines. It has been conducting gambling in online casinos and in sports.

It can be easily inferred that the silence of the government body on a company like 1XBet, which has been running in Nepal lately, has inspired this to enter Nepal. 

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