Sport Ireland, formerly the Irish Sports Council, has gotten in contact with Cricket Ireland to talk about sponsorship agreements after receiving some complaints regarding gambling companies’ adverts that were visible at recent cricket matches between India and Ireland. The controversial adverts promoted gambling companies that have been allegedly taking wagers on children’s sports and promoting sexual content.
Reportedly, the statutory authority that monitors and partly funds the development of sports in Ireland received a number of cricket fans’ complaints about several gambling operators that had advertising hoardings and the boundary rope feature its brands, as well as television coverage of the three-match series between Ireland and India that took place in August 2023.
The body issued a statement revealing that it had brought the issue to further discussion with Cricket Ireland, which at a later stage apologised for any offence that might have been accidentally caused.
A Cricket Ireland spokesperson issued a statement saying that the associated imagery used by the few gambling companies on their websites contradicted the values of the organisation. The spokesperson further explained an India-based agency had purchased the in-ground advertising rights. They also noted that the ireland jerseys’ sponsorship or events’ naming rights are set in some contractual safeguards, but ground rights signage is a completely different issue.
As revealed in the official statement issued by Cricket Ireland’s spokesperson, the brands that allegedly breached the country’s advertising rules were not sponsors of either the event or Cricket Ireland, so they had lower-level visibility than the actual event/team sponsors, and were not associated with the organisation outside that particular event.
Several Overseas Gambling Companies Involved in Illegal Gambling Advertising, Reports Say
One of the gambling companies that had their branding present at the cricket ground was 1xBet – a betting operator that the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) suspended in 2019 after a media investigation found that the brand promoted a “pornhub casino” featuring topless croupiers. The online gambling platform also faced accusations of accepting bets on cockfighting events and children’s sports, as well as advertising on illegal websites.
So far, 1xBet has not commented on the situation but previously told the Sunday Times that its overseas marketing partners were the ones responsible for some of the suspicious brand promotions and advertising on illegal websites.
Other operators whose brands were displayed on in-ground advertising hoardings at the time, were Kheloyar and SportsX9. Both companies have been allegedly displaying images of a sexual nature on their online gambling platforms. Two other operators, Six6s and Khelraja, both featured “sexy” labelled gambling tabx on their homepages.
A spokesman for Sport Ireland stated that the organisation is not a regulatory body but, still, it is working on a Charter for Irish Sport that would bring clearer definitions of the values to be upheld in the country’s sports. On the other hand, a Department of Sport’s spokesperson highlighted that Cricket Ireland is an autonomous entity and the department was unable to exercise its functions in regard to the sponsorship agreements such entities entered into.
Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.