Cricket fans in Pakistan tuning into the thrilling Melbourne Test between Australia and Pakistan were met with a surprising change – the absence of betting advertisements. Traditionally, such matches have been peppered with commercials for online gambling platforms, but on this occasion, they were noticeably absent from the Pakistani broadcast.
PTV had issued a statement yesterday saying they had pulled coverage adhering to the government’s “zero tolerance policy” for surrogate advertising and “had taken up the issue with the relevant broadcaster”, saying the “series will be telecast live once the matter is resolved”.
This development comes amidst a growing debate in Pakistan surrounding the legality and ethical implications of online betting. While legal in certain regions, the activity remains a grey area in Pakistan, with regulators cracking down on unlicensed platforms and raising concerns about potential societal harms.
The decision to remove the betting ads from the Melbourne Test broadcast was made by the Pakistani broadcaster, PTV, in consultation with relevant authorities. While no official explanation has been provided, it’s likely linked to the ongoing regulatory discussions and heightened public scrutiny towards online betting.
“It’s a commendable move,” said, a renowned commentator in Pakistan. “Cricket is deeply ingrained in our culture, and ensuring it remains accessible and wholesome for all fans, especially younger generations, is paramount.”
The removal of betting ads has been met with mixed reactions in Pakistan. Some viewers welcomed the change, applauding the broadcaster for prioritizing responsible viewing and potentially curbing the exposure of vulnerable individuals to the risks associated with gambling.
Others, however, expressed concerns about the potential impact on sporting broadcasts. “Cricket and betting are intertwined for many fans,” said a cricket enthusiast. “While promoting responsible gambling is important, completely removing such ads might hurt the revenue that supports the sport.”