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Bangladesh to deport five Indians for betting on cricket

Monday, November 20, 2017

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DHAKA, Bangladesh (AFP) — Bangladesh police said Monday they would deport five Indians caught betting at a weekend cricket match as authorities crack down on illegal bookmaking in the lucrative domestic league.

The men were detained Saturday at Dhaka's Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium during the one-day Bangladesh Premier League match, police said.

They were caught by cricket officials concerned about match-fixing and illegal gambling in the hugely popular league.

"We have handed them over to police as this is the most we could do. They will take further action," said cricket board spokesman Jalal Yunus.

Two of the accused were previously caught betting during Bangladesh's home series against England in October last year, he added.

Authorities were "in the process of deporting them to India", said local police head Nazrul Islam. Gambling is illegal in Bangladesh but the cricket league has been dogged by betting scandals and its first two editions were marred by a match-fixing controversy involving players and team owners. Last week nearly 80 spectators at two cricket grounds were thrown out on suspicion of betting. The alleged offenders — including 10 Indians — used mobile phones to place live bets before scores were broadcast on television and online.

A leading newspaper reported last week that betting on domestic cricket was rampant, with tea stalls, restaurants and rickshaw garages doubling as venues to place bets.

The cricket board searches stadiums to catch gamblers but that has not stamped out the practice. Last year the country's communications regulator blocked a dozen gaming websites in a bid to curb betting on cricket.

Nearly 50 foreign cricketers, including Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga, the West Indies' Chris Gayle, New Zealand's Brendon McCullum and England's Jos Buttler, are competing in the seven-team BPL tournament this year.

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