International cricket is set to see an increase in gambling sponsorships on attire and equipment during bilateral matches. This change comes after the International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executives Committee agreed to allow such sponsorships on clothing during meetings in Dubai last month. The decision takes effect from April, but major ICC events, such as World Cups, will continue to prohibit betting sponsorships.
Revisiting Restrictions Amid Global Debate
The issue of gambling sponsorships was discussed during November meetings but remained restricted. However, several Full Member nations went on to display betting logos on their kits or as on-field advertising at home venues.
This development prompted further discussion, ultimately leading to the lifting of restrictions. In a Forbes article, CEC Secretary Clive Hitchcock stated, “It was felt that the members should have the right to determine for themselves if betting logos should be used in bilateral and domestic cricket.“
This decision comes as the subject of gambling sponsorships remains contentious across sports. English Premier League clubs will cease featuring such sponsorships on their kits from the 2025-26 season, while Spain banned gambling sponsorships of sports clubs and stadiums in 2020. Additionally, an Australian parliament committee is currently investigating online gambling in sports.
Concerns Over Match-Fixing and Addiction
Despite sports betting being illegal in India, cricket’s largest market, gambling sponsorships have made their way into the sport. Bet365, a leading online sports betting company, has partnered with Cricket Australia since 2012, and Betway, a well know iGaming company, sponsors Cricket South Africa and Cricket West Indies. Dream11, a legal fantasy sports app in India, is also a major sponsor of the country’s cricket governing body.
The growing presence of sports gambling in cricket raises concerns, given the sport’s history of match-fixing scandals and the illicit betting market in South Asia. “I am totally surprised and totally against it. Beyond my comprehension,” a cricket administrator commented.
Some believe the decision to allow gambling sponsorships is hypocritical, with another administrator stating, “If you look at all the anti-corruption stuff which is directly linked with betting… you wonder why would you allow it.” However, they acknowledged the legality of sports betting in many countries.
In other decisions, the ICC resolved to increase the number of logos permitted on team kits for Test and ODI matches and eliminate the need for colored clash kits in ICC events and bilateral cricket.