Online betting unabated with indulgence of power quarters

27 December 2022

When the horrific memory of casino cases of 2019 still haunts our minds, a news report published in an English newspaper yesterday informed us that such gambling is now available online. More shockingly, the report said, some television channels in Bangladesh, especially sports channels, were broadcasting online betting advertisements during live games including the recently concluded FIFA World Cup and the home cricket series against India. Some sports-based websites operated from abroad also ran advertisements for the sports betting platform 1xbet frequently. The Cyprus-based online gambling website 1xbet is banned and blocked in Bangladesh, but with some influential local collaborators, they are continuing their operation in the country mostly without any hassle.
Reportedly, a huge amount of money has been laundered from the country through these online gambling platforms. Article 18(2) of the Constitution says the state shall take effective steps to stop prostitution and gambling. There is also a High Court ruling. The court on 18 this month asked the government to explain why its failure to prevent broadcasting or remove online betting or gambling advertisements on digital and online platforms, especially sports channels, should not be declared illegal. The High Court asked the regulatory authorities to explain why they should not be directed to stop online betting or gambling ads in the middle of sports and news shows, especially on sports TV channels.
What inflicts us more horribly is the involvement of youth icons in this heinous crime.  For example, two names here are needed to mention -- Bangladesh cricket all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan and the government party youth front leader Ismail Hossain Chowdhury Samrat. Shakib sparked controversy in August when he announced his partnership with Betwinner News, a news portal run by a gambling company based on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao. Shakib, however, amid huge criticism later on canceled his partnership with the news portal. The kingpin of club-based casinos Jubo League leader Samrat has recently been released on bail with political blessings ahead of the next national elections. Very sadly, trials in most of the cases over casino scams are yet to be completed in three years.
We have many laws as well as constitutional obligations. But unfortunately, we have no morality to follow them for a just-based society. We have an economy but not it is not for equal distribution. Therefore, laundering and plundering money by any means have become more common here. With the blessings of the power quarter, nothing makes the criminals unabated to make bucks illegally.

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