It looks like the opposite is happening as Match IPL is facing troubled times ahead as accusations have surfaced against its founder Raj Kundra. Match-fixing accusations were made by Sachiin Joshi, the owner of the ‘Goa Kings‘.
The Goa Kings participated in the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2017 as one of the ten teams. The ultimate winner of the 2017 League was Team Mumbai All-Stars.
The trouble started when Kundra requested that Joshi pay him the $60,000 licensing fee for his team’s participation in the league.
Kundra says that Joshi got all the benefits of PR and exposure from the League but never responded to calls for payment. This was when Kundra went public and decided to take legal action against Joshi. However, Joshi's camp fired back with allegations that Kundra fixed the inaugural edition of Match IPL and ensured that a specific team won.
In a statement, Manoj Asrani, Group CMO of Joshi's firm Viiking Ventures said
Raj Kundra initiated a poker tournament by the name of Match IPL and around 10 teams were formed. There were commitments made and the same weren't delivered. When we got to know that the tournament was rigged for a specific team to win, we withdrew our participation and did not sign any agreement
This is not the first time that Kundra has been in hot water for match-fixing. In the past, Kundra owned a cricket team known as the ‘Rajasthan Royals‘ which played in the popular Indian Premier League. However, a few years ago, charges were leveled against the team for match-fixing and spot-fixing. When tried in court, the authorities suspended the Rajasthan Royals franchise from taking part in any matches during 2016 and 2017.
In response to the accusation, Varun Goenka, the President of the Indian Match Hold'em Sport Confederation (IMHSC) released a statement and denied all match-fixing allegations. The statement looked to bring credibility back to Match IPL by highlighting the fact that the poker league is internationally recognized and claiming that Match Poker is completely transparent and cannot be rigged.
This is mostly because of its structure as a poker game in which each table receives the exact same cards to the same positions across tables in play. Goenka also says that Joshi's two partners do not share his cheating claims. Whether these accusations are true or not, they definitely stain the reputation of poker in India and will only hinder the push for legalization.