The SMS prediction game launched by the Indian Premier League has been cancelled just days after the Hindustan Times highlighted that the game could encourage betting and gambling on cricket. Since the HT column appeared there has been widespread condemnation of the game from leading voices in the game including MS Gill, the sports minister.
“There was no formal complaint, but the sports minister’s views were taken into account and the organisers have withdrawn the game,” IPL governing council member Rajiv Shukla told agencies.
Earlier, the IPL had defended the game, claiming it was a skill game and did not encourage gambling, and insisted that they had taken the best possible legal advice before launching the contest.
Several former cricketers had joined the sports minister in slamming the game, following which it was cancelled on Tuesday. “I see the commercial use of cricket for business gains that is going on,” Gill, who previously served as chief election commissioner, said in his statement. “I am concerned about the latest venture of encouraging viewers to make ball-by-ball predictions of runs scored for economic gain in the shape of cash prizes.
“This is viewed as openly encouraging gambling and betting which official bodies do not resort to, even in countries where betting is legal — all this to make money and enlarge their TV viewership base,” Gill had said, quoting liberally from Pradeep Magazine’s column which appeared in HT.