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Shakib triggers controversy promoting betting website again

Star cricketer Shakib al Hasan has found himself in yet another controversy after getting involved with betting.

The Bangladesh captain is under the spotlight this time for his association with a betting website – Babu88.

The association took place during his stint with Montreal Tigers in the Canadian Global Twenty20 League earlier this year.

Shakib’s involvement with a betting company has again come as a shock to the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the sports fraternity.

The all-rounder was previously embroiled in a difficult situation with the board for his association with a betting company surrogate.

In 2022, Shakib was announced as the brand ambassador of betting site surrogate Betwinner News. 

The 36-year old later reverted from his involvement with the betting company after BCB president Nazmul Hasan had threatened that the cricketer will be excluded from the Asia Cup squad that year if his sponsorship deal with Betwinner News is not revoked.

Gambling is illegal as per the laws of Bangladesh and also BCB regulations.

Shakib’s connection now in promoting online gambling site Babu88 has shaken the BCB office once again. 

In the advertisement, Shakib boldly touts Babu88 as the premier sports platform in Bangladesh, offering updates on various sports, including cricket.

However, the website shows a stark contrast as cricket betting, casino games, and slot gambling are prominent features of the platform.

Speaking to an influential BCB director, it has been learnt that the board is shocked and discussing the matter internally before approaching Shakib.

“This has come as a big shock to us. There was such a big chaos between the board and Shakib just last year because of his involvement with a betting surrogate. That time he had said he was unaware of the law but what now? The matter is being discussed internally. The board will soon speak to Shakib on the matter,” said the BCB official requesting anonymity to Dhaka Tribune Tuesday.

Shakib in this instance might come up with the argument that the promotion was part of his commitment with the Montreal Tigers as Babu88 is the title sponsor of the side.

However, then the discussion comes down to individual choice.

Veteran wicketkeeper-batter Mushfiqur Rahim during his appearance in the Zim-Afro T10 for Joburg Buffaloes this year was seen using tape on his match jersey to block promotion of the side’s title sponsor WinBuzz, a betting site.

“This totally depends on the individual. Betting is illegal and a social taboo in our country and also forbidden in our religion [Islam]. Mushfiq’s decision [to hide the betting company name on jersey] shows him considering these facts. Many Muslim cricketers around the world do the same thing, they run on different ethics,” said the BCB official.

The looming question now is whether Shakib will face repercussions for his actions, especially given the repeated disregard for both the BCB’s regulations and the broader legal framework of the country.

Or will the BCB, like many occasions in the past, overlook the matter considering that Shakib is the best performing cricketer of the country and has political connections?