A petition to arrest Indian national cricket team captain Virat Kohli for promoting online gambling has been filed in the Madras High Court, according to reports. (More Cricket News)
Kohli, 31, endorses dozens of the products including an e-Sports platform, Mobile Premier League, that directly deals in online gaming. And a senior advocate from Chennai has found the youth icon complicit in promoting online gaming.
In his plea, advocate A.P. Suryaprakasam said that gambling is a criminal offense in India and there has been a recent spurt in suicides among youth in Tamil Nadu due to gambling.
"Youngsters are being hooked to this online gambling addiction by the organizers by providing huge cash bonuses to anyone.
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"It uses the famous cricket and film personalities including cricketer like Virat Kohli and actress Tamannah who brainwash these young with their powerful appeal to join this game," DNA cited quotes from the petition in the report.
But Kohli is not the only cricketer to endorsed such apps or platforms. Former India captains Sourav Ganguly and MS Dhoni, and ex-Aussie all-rounder Shane Watson also featured as brand ambassadors for fantasy leagues like Dream 11 that see consumers waging online bets.
It's also claimed that the petition was filed after a youngster committed suicide.
"In online gambling the damage is done in a short span, whereas alcohol and cigarettes take about 15 years to harm an individual. They are being lured in to play by celebrities who endorse it using their influence in the public minds.
"Youth begin with pocket money, income and then exhaust family savings, later lend money. When the lender goes to their residence and embarrasses them, they take the extreme step. There are many cases like this in recent times and many more such unfortunate cases will emerge in the coming months, when youth are unemployed and idle," the petitioner told WION.
The matter is likely to be taken up for hearing on Tuesday or Wednesday.