Bangladesh to try cricket gamblers in special courts

Bangladesh will set up special courts at its cricket stadiums to try and convict any punters caught gambling during an upcoming international series, an official said Monday. Gamblers caught during the tri-nation series against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe starting January 15 would be hauled from the stands and tried on the spot by judges in temporary courtrooms, a cricket board official said.

“Betting will be treated as a public nuisance. Anyone found involved will be convicted and punished instantly in the stadium,” Bangladesh Cricket Board chief executive Nizamuddin Chowdhury said. The special courts will continue to target gamblers during Sri Lanka’s tour of Bangladesh, which starts at the end of January after the tri-nation series.

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will play two Test matches and two Twenty20 internationals. Gambling is illegal but rampant during cricket matches in Bangladesh, where punters exploit a brief delay between live play and the official broadcast of results to place frantic bets.

Authorities threw nearly 80 spectators out of matches for placing bets using their mobile phones during the latest edition of the Bangladesh Premier League Twenty20 tournament, which concluded last month. At least a dozen of them were foreigners.

Police in November deported at least five Indians caught gambling during these short format matches. So-called “mobile courts” are popular in Bangladesh. In October, more than 200 people accused of abuses against Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh’s southeast were jailed by special courts there.

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