DHAKA: A special temporary courthouse at Dhaka´s main cricket stadium expelled 20 punters for placing illegal bets during the first three days of the Bangladesh Premier League, an official said Wednesday.
Betting is illegal in Bangladesh but rampant during cricket matches, where gamblers exploit a brief delay between live play and the official broadcast of results to place frantic bets.
Those caught are hauled from the stands and tried on the spot by judges stationed at stadiums across the cricket-mad South Asian country during international matches and the lucrative Twenty20 BPL tournament.
The temporary court at Dhaka´s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium fined 20 gamblers and barred them from the grounds in the first three days of the BPL, which started Sunday.
Six Indians were among those slapped with fines up to 4,000 taka ($48) for infringements, said executive magistrate Imrul Hasan, the judge who presided at the special court.
“They were caught on the grounds placing live bets with their mobile phones. They will not be allowed to watch any more BPL games this season,” he said.
Nearly 80 spectators were thrown out of BPL matches for placing bets using mobile phones during the last edition of the Twenty20 franchise. At least a dozen were foreigners.
The Bangladesh tournament has lured foreign stars with top-notch salaries to play the short format league, including Australian big hitters Steve Smith and David Warner.
The BPL was dogged by match-fixing scandals and delayed pay for some foreign players after it started in 2011. After a one-year suspension in 2015 it has been staged without serious controversy.
The BPL finishes February 8.